, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 18-27

Amplification of the ancient murine Lx family of long interspersed repeated DNA occurred during the murine radiation

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We identified and characterized the relics of an ancient rodent Ll family, referred to as Lx, which was extensively amplified at the time of the murine radiation about 12 million years ago, and which we showed was ancestral to the modern L1 families in rat and mouse. Here we have extended our analysis of the Lx amplification by examining more murine and nonmurine species for Lx sequences using both blot hybridization and the polymerase chain reaction for a total of 36 species. In addition we have determined the relative copy number and sequence divergence, or age, of Lx elements in representative murine genera. Our results show that while Lx sequences are confined to murine genera, the extent of the amplification was different in the different murine lineages, indicating that the amplification of Lx did not precede, but was coincident with, the murine radiation. The implications of our findings for the evolutionary dynamics of L1 families and the utility of ancestral amplification events for systematics are discussed.

Correspondence to: A.V. Furano