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.
|Number of pages
|Published - 1995