Two families of non-LTR retrotransposons, Syrinx and Daphne, from the Darwinulid ostracod, Darwinula stevensoni. Academic Article uri icon


  • Two novel families of non-LTR retrotransposons, named Syrinx and Daphne, were cloned and characterized in a putative ancient asexual ostracod Darwinula stevensoni. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that Daphne is the founding member of a novel clade of non-LTR retroelements, which also contains retrotransposon families from the sea urchin and the silkworm and forms a sister clade to L2-like elements. The Syrinx family of non-LTR retrotransposons exhibits evidence of relatively recent activity, manifested in high levels of sequence similarity between individual copies and a three- to ten-fold excess of synonymous substitutions, which is indicative of purifying selection. The Daphne family may have very few copies with intact open reading frames, and exhibits neutral within-family ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions. It can additionally be characterized by formation of inverted truncated head-to-head structures. All of these features make recent activity less likely than in the Syrinx family. Our results are discussed in light of the evolutionary consequences of long-term asexuality in general and in D. stevensoni in particular.

publication date

  • April 26, 2006

published in