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Scientists track stealth DNA elements in primate evolution

ments.

"In contrast to 'master' genes, 'stealth drivers' are not responsible for generating the majority of new Alu copies, but rather for maintaining genomic retrotransposition capacity over extended periods of time," Batzer explains. "By generating new Alu copies at a slow rate, a 'stealth driver' may occasionally spawn progeny elements that are capable of much higher retrotransposition rates. These hyperactive progeny elements may act as 'master' genes for the amplification of Alu subfamilies and are responsible for producing the majority of the subfamily members. Due to their high retrotransposition levels, however, they are likely to be rapidly purged from human populations through natural selection."

Dr. Batzer, principal investigator on the study, is the George C. Kent Professor of Life Sciences in the Department of Biological Sciences at LSU. Co-first authors on the manuscript, Kyudong Han and Jinchuan Xing, are graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences at LSU. LSU graduate students Hui Wang and Dale Hedges, along with postdoctoral fellows Drs. Randall Garber and Richard Cordaux, also share authorship on the paper.


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Source:Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


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