, Volume 245, Issue 6, pp 661-674

High transposition rates of Osvaldo, a new Drosophila buzzatii retrotransposon

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Transposition of a new Drosophila retrotransposon was investigated. Total genomic Southern analysis and polytene in situ hybridizations in D. buzzatii strains and other related species using a 6 kb D. buzzatii clone (cDb314) showed a dispersed, repetitive DNA pattern, suggesting that this clone contains a transposable element (TE). We have sequenced the cDb314 clone and demonstrated that it contains all the conserved protein sequences and motifs typical of retrovirus-related sequences. Although cDb314 does not include the complete TE, the protein sequence alignment demonstrates that it includes a defective copy of a new long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposon, related to the gypsy family, which we have named Osvaldo. Using a D. buzzatii inbred line in which all insertion sites are known, we have measured Osvaldo transposition rates in hybrids between this D. buzzatii line and its sibling species D. koepferae. The results show that Osvaldo transposes in bursts at high rate, both in the D. buzzatii inbred line and in species hybrids.

This paper is dedicated posthumously to Osvaldo A. Reig in recognition of his contributions to evolutionary biology and his early appreciation of the role of transposable elements in evolution