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Extensive horizontal exchange of transposable elements in the Drosophila pseudoobscura group

By Tom Hill, Andrea J Betancourt

Posted 18 Mar 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/284117

While the horizontal transfer of a parasitic element can be a potentially catastrophic, it is increasingly recognized as a common occurance. The horizontal exchange, or lack of exchange, of TE content between species results in different levels of divergence among a species group in the mobile component of their genomes. Here, we examine differences in the TE content of the Drosophila pseudoobscura species group. We identify several putative horizontal transfer events, and examine the role that horizontal transfer plays in the spread of TE families to new species and the homogenization of TE content in these species. Despite rampant exchange of TE families between species, we find that both TE content differs hugely across the group, likely due to differing activity of each TE family and differing suppression of TEs due to divergence in Y chromosome size, and its resulting effects of TE regulation. Overall, we show that TE content is highly dynamic in this species group, and that it plays a large role in shaping the differences seen between species.

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