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Hum Genet. 1994 May;93(5):545-51.

Ancestry of SINE-R.C2 a human-specific retroposon.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294.


We have reported previously that a retroposon, containing a variable number of tandemly repeated nucleotide sequences, is present in the third intron of the human C2 gene. This element, termed SINE-R.C2, is a member of a large retroposon family derived from the endogenous retrovirus HERV-K10 and estimated to include a few thousand copies per haploid human genome. In the present study we analyzed genomic DNA from 175 humans from several ethnic groups including Americans of European and African descent, Chinese, Africans, Australians, Pacific Islanders, Japanese, and Koreans. They all contained SINE-R.C2, as indicated by Southern blotting. However, SINE-R.C2 was absent from the genome of nonhuman primates, although SINE-R-type elements were present in chimpanzees and gorillas and the HERV-K10 genome was apparently present in all primates except for New World monkeys. These results indicate that HERV-K10 was inserted into the genome after the divergence of New World monkeys; the prototype SINE-R element, after divergence of orangutans; and SINE-R.C2, after the split between humans and chimpanzees.

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