Structural conservation of the transposon Tam3 family in Antirrhinum majus and estimation of the number of copies able to transpose
We have investigated the organization of the transposon Tam3 family in Antirrhinum majus. Genomic hybridization experiments and characterization of 40 independent Tam3 clones isolated from an A. majus plant revealed that the Tam3 family is quite conserved and the copy sizes are uniform. We did not find any copy with a deleted internal sequence, unlike what is usually observed in other transposons. This exceptionally conserved structure of the Tam3 family was confirmed by PCR and sequencing analyses. Sequencing analysis identified eight copies with sequences completely identical to that of the Tam3 transposase gene. These results suggested that a considerable number of autonomous Tam3 copies are present in the genome of A. majus. Among 24 copies which are surrounded by single copy regions of the genome, 14 copies are present as specific insertions in the line which we used, but absent in other lines. These copies are therefore predicted to be movable. If this ratio is the same for all Tam3 copies in a genome, then a maximum of 60% of the copies are estimated to be movable in the genome. The relatively high frequency of gene tagged by Tam3 might reflect the large number of movable copies in the genome.
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