Studies on the significance of LTR-retrotransposons on gene structure and function
McCollum, Andrea Michelle
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Transposable elements are mobile DNA sequences that can move from one chromosome position to another. These elements are ubiquitous in eukaryotes and compose a large percentage of some eukaryotic genomes. The current thesis considers the impacts of transposable elements on host genes. Four LTR-retrotransposon/gene associations in Caenorhabditis elegans have been surveyed across known populations of the species. All four associations are detected in high frequency or fixed throughout the species. In another population study, a euchromatic LTR-retrotransposon/gene association in Drosophila melanogaster is only detected in one population while a heterochromatic association is detected in all populations examined. Sequence analysis of the LTR sequence suggests that selection is maintaining this retrotransposon sequence in the Drosophila melanogaster species as well as a sister taxa, D. mauritiana.