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Patterns of selection against transposons inferred from the distribution of Tc1, Tc3 and Tc5 insertions in the mut-7 line of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
Genetics. 2003 Nov;165(3):1127-35
C. Rizzon, E. Martin, G. Marais, L. Duret, L. Segalat, C. Biemont


To identify the factors (selective or mutational) that affect the distribution of transposable elements (TEs) within a genome, it is necessary to compare the pattern of newly arising element insertions to the pattern of element insertions that have been fixed in a population. To do this, we analyzed the distribution of recent mutant insertions of the Tc1, Tc3, and Tc5 elements in a mut-7 background of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and compared it to the distribution of element insertions (presumably fixed) within the sequenced genome. Tc1 elements preferentially insert in regions with high recombination rates, whereas Tc3 and Tc5 do not. Although Tc1 and Tc3 both insert in TA dinucleotides, there is no clear relationship between the frequency of insertions and the TA dinucleotide density. There is a strong selection against TE insertions within coding regions: the probability that a TE will be fixed is at least 31 times lower in coding regions than in noncoding regions. Contrary to the prediction of theoretical models, we found that the selective pressure against TE insertions does not increase with the recombination rate. These findings indicate that the distribution of these three transposon families in the genome of C. elegans is determined essentially by just two factors: the pattern of insertions, which is a characteristic of each family, and the selection against insertions within coding regions.

PMID: 14668370 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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