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Recombination rate and the distribution of transposable elements in the Drosophila melanogaster genome
Genome Res.,2002, 12(3):400-407
C. Rizzon, G. Marais, M. Gouy, C. Biémont

We analyzed the distribution of 54 families of transposable elements (TEs; transposons, LTR retrotransposons, and non-LTR retrotransposons) in the chromosomes of Drosophila melanogaster, using data from the sequenced genome. The density of LTR and non-LTR retrotransposons (RNA-based elements) was high in regions with low recombination rates, but there was no clear tendency to parallel the recombination rate. However, the density of transposons (DNA-based elements) was significantly negatively correlated with recombination rate. The accumulation of TEs in regions of reduced recombination rate is compatible with selection acting against TEs, as selection is expected to be weaker in regions with lower recombination. The differences in the relationship between recombination rate and TE density that exist between chromosome arms suggest that TE distribution depends on specific characteristics of the chromosomes (chromatin structure, distribution of other sequences), the TEs themselves (transposition mechanism), and the species (reproductive system, effective population size, etc.), that have differing influences on the effect of natural selection acting against the TE insertions.

PMID: 11875027

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