S elements: A family of Tc1-like transposons in the genome of Drosophila melanogaster

P. J. Merriman, C. D. Grimes, J. Ambroziak, D. A. Hackett, P. Skinner, M. J. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The S elements form a diverse family of long-inverted-repeat transposons within the genome of Drosophila melanogaster. These elements vary in size and sequence, the longest consisting of 1736 bp with 234-bp inverted terminal repeats. The longest open reading frame in an intact S element could encode a 345-amino acid polypeptide. This polypeptide is homologous to the transposases of the mariner-Tcl superfamily of transposable elements. S elements are ubiquitous in D. melanogaster populations and also appear to be present in the genomes of two sibling species; however, they seem to be absent from 17 other Drosophila species that were examined. Within D. melanogaster strains, there are, on average, 37.4 cytologically detectable S elements per diploid genome. These elements are scattered throughout the chromosomes, but several sites in both the euchromatin and β heterochromatin are consistently occupied. The discovery of an S-element-insertion mutation and a reversion of this mutation indicates that S elements are at least occasionally mobile in the D. melanogaster genome. These elements seem to insert at an AT dinucleotide within a short palindrome and apparently duplicate that dinucleotide upon insertion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1425-1438
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995


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