Twenty-six sequences of a short interspersed repetitive element (SINE) with a size of approximately 150 base pairs (bp) were isolated from the genomic DNA of Vicugna vicugna (vicuna). RNA polymerase III split promoter sequence was observed in most of them, and many had direct repeats flanking to SINEs as well as a poly(A)-like structure. The SINE sequences were designated as "vic-1" sequences. Comparison of the vic-1 consensus sequence with sequences registered in the DNA database (DDBJ/ EMBL/GENBANK) revealed that the vic-1 sequence had a 79% homology with mouse ala-tRNA gene. In addition, the tRNA-related region of the consensus sequence was folded into a cloverleaf structure as with mouse ala-tRNA. These findings strongly indicated that vic-1 was a retroposon derived from ala-tRNA gene. The vic-1 sequences were used as a probe for dot-blot hybridization to examine the distribution of their homologous sequences in the genomes of various animal species spanning 14 orders, of which, homologous sequences were found only in the Camelidae family. In order to examine the phylogenetical relationship among vicuna, llama, and camel, vic-1 insertion analysis and homology analysis of vic-1 sequences were performed at each locus. The analyses indicated that vic-1 sequences were generated in a common ancestor of the animal species, and that camels first branched off from the clade Camelidae, followed by vicunas and llamas.