ISSN 1662-4009 (Online)

ESPE Yearbook of Paediatric Endocrinology (2019) 16 14.5 | DOI: 10.1530/ey.16.14.5

Horizontal transfer of BovB and L1 retrotransposons in eukaryotes

Ivancevic AM, Kortschak RD, Bertozzi T & Adelson DL

To read the full abstract: Genome Biol. 2018 Jul 9;19(1):85

Analyzing 759 plant, fungal and animal genomes, this article describes multiple possible horizontal gene transfer events in bat and frog, finding new parasite vectors of transfer such as bed bug, leech and locust.

Junk DNA sequences that can multiply and change their position within a genome are called Jumping Genes (Transposons), the so-called horizontal transfer, as opposed to the normal linear transfer of genes. They can sometimes create or reverse mutations. It was shown that transposons can jump to the genome of another species using a virus or a parasite (like ticks) as a vector. It is predicted that up to 25% of a cow’s and sheep’s genomes are comprised of jumping genes.

The paper describes two transposons called BovB and L1 that reached the mammalian genome from other species. BovB is present in the genomes of cows, reptiles bat, frog and elephants. L1 was involved in the rapid evolution of mammals, including humans, in creating new traits. Across 759 species of plant, fungal and animal genomes, they identified multiple possible L1 horizontal transfer events in eukaryotic species. They show multiple transfer events of BovB, describing new parasite vectors such as the bed bug, leech and locust. Such transposable elements have colonized more than half of the genome sequence in today’s mammals.

Jumping genes seem to be a general genetic phenomenon, and are likely to be identified in even more species and multiple organs.

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