, Volume 244, Issue 6, pp 606-612

Widespread occurrence of the Tc1 transposon family: Tc1-like transposons from teleost fish

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We characterized five transposable elements from fish: one from zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio), one from rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri), and three from Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). All are closely similar in structure to the Tel transposon of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. A comparison of 17 Tc1-like transposons from species representing three phyla (nematodes, arthropods, and chordates) showed that these elements make up a highly conserved transposon family. Most are close to 1.7 kb in length, have inverted terminal repeats, have conserved terminal nucleotides, and each contains a single gene encoding similar poly peptides. The phylogenetic relationships of the transposons were reconstructed from the amino acid sequences of the conceptual proteins and from DNA sequences. The elements are highly diverged and have evidently inhabited the genomes of these diverse species for a long time. To account for the data, it is not necessary to invoke recent horizontal transmission.

Communicated by D. Finnegan