L1 (LINE-1) retrotransposon diversity differs dramatically between mammals and fish

Anthony V. Furano, David D. Duvernell, Stephane Boissinot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


L1 retrotransposons replicate (amplify) by copying (reverse transcribing) their RNA transcript into genomic DNA. The evolutionary history of L1 in mammals has been unique. In mice and humans ∼80 million years of L1 evolution and replication produced a single evolutionary lineage of L1 elements while generating ∼20% of the genomic mass in each species. By contrast, zebrafish contain >30 distinct L1 lineages that have generated approximately one-tenth as much DNA. We contend that, by becoming far more permissive of interspersed repeated DNA than other organisms, mammals are conducive to competition between L1 families for replicative dominance, and that this competition, perhaps for the host factors required for L1 replication, results in a single L1 lineage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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