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Type: Journal article
Title: LINEs between species: evolutionary dynamics of LINE-1 retrotransposons across the eukaryotic tree of life
Author: Ivancevic, A.
Kortschak, R.
Bertozzi, T.
Adelson, D.
Citation: Genome Biology and Evolution, 2016; 8(11):3301-3322
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1759-6653
Statement of
Atma M. Ivancevic, R. Daniel Kortschak, Terry Bertozzi and David L. Adelson
Abstract: LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposons are dynamic elements. They have the potential to cause great genomic change because of their ability to 'jump' around the genome and amplify themselves, resulting in the duplication and rearrangement of regulatory DNA. Active L1, in particular, are often thought of as tightly constrained, homologous and ubiquitous elements with well-characterized domain organization. For the past 30 years, model organisms have been used to define L1s as 6-8 kb sequences containing a 5'-UTR, two open reading frames working harmoniously in cis, and a 3'-UTR with a polyA tail. In this study, we demonstrate the remarkable and overlooked diversity of L1s via a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of elements from over 500 species from widely divergent branches of the tree of life. The rapid and recent growth of L1 elements in mammalian species is juxtaposed against the diverse lineages found in other metazoans and plants. In fact, some of these previously unexplored mammalian species (e.g. snub-nosed monkey, minke whale) exhibit L1 retrotranspositional 'hyperactivity' far surpassing that of human or mouse. In contrast, non-mammalian L1s have become so varied that the current classification system seems to inadequately capture their structural characteristics. Our findings illustrate how both long-term inherited evolutionary patterns and random bursts of activity in individual species can significantly alter genomes, highlighting the importance of L1 dynamics in eukaryotes.
Keywords: Transposable element; retrotransposon; LINE; eukaryotes; evolution
Rights: © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
RMID: 0030055963
DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evw243
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications

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