Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 237–243 | Cite as

Evolutionary Dynamics of the Human Endogenous Retrovirus Family HERV-K Inferred from Full-Length Proviral Genomes

  • Javier  Costas


Several distinct families of endogenous retroviruses exist in the genomes of primates. Most of them are remnants of ancient germ-line infections. The human endogenous retrovirus family HERV-K represents the unique known case of endogenous retrovirus that amplified in the human genome after the divergence of human and chimpanzee lineages. There are two types of HERV-K proviral genomes differing by the presence or absence of 292 bp in the pol-env boundary. Human-specific insertions exist for both types. The analyses shown in the present work reveal that several lineages of type 1 and type 2 HERV-K proviruses remained transpositionally active after the human/chimpanzee split. The data also reflect the important role of mosaic evolution (either by recombination or gene conversion) during the evolutionary history of HERV-K.

Key words: Human endogenous retrovirus — HERV — HML-2 — HERV-K — Master gene model — Retrovirus-like elements — Transposable elements — Interspersed elements — Mosaic evolution 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier  Costas
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Bioloxía Fundamental, Facultade de Bioloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Campus Sur s/n E-15782 Santiago de Compostela, (A Coruña), SpainES

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