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We have isolated sequences belonging to Ty1-copia group retrotransposons from the genomes of an amphibian (Pyxicephalus adspersa) and three reptiles (Conolophus subscristatus, Amblyrynchus cristatus and Pytas mucosus). Two different sequences were found in the amphibian (Tpa1 and Tpa2). Each is present in several copies per genome and absent from the genomes of two other amphibian species. The C. subcristatus sequence Tcs1 is present in multiple copies in both its host genome (Galapagos land iguana) and the genome of the related Galapagos marine iguana (A. cristatus). There is little or no polymorphism in Tcs1 insertions between different individual animals, suggesting that this sequence is not transposing rapidly in either iguana genome. The P. mucosus sequence Tpm1 shows a discontinuous distribution in snake species, suggesting that it has either been lost from many lineages during vertical germline transmission or has been transferred horizontally in some snake species. Phylogenetic comparisons of all these sequences with each other and with other members of this retrotransposon group from other animals and plants show that sequences within a particular vertebrate species are most closely related to each other, consistent with a vertical transmission model for their evolution.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Gen Genet

Publication Date





65 - 71


Amino Acid Sequence, Amphibians, Animals, Blotting, Southern, Conserved Sequence, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid, Reptiles, Retroelements, Retroviridae, Sequence Alignment, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Vertebrates