An insertion sequence was found in a Mu homologue in the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana. The insertion sequence had poly(A) at the 3' end, and promoter motifs (A- and B-boxes) recognized by RNA polymerase III. The sequence was flanked by direct repeats of a 15-bp sequence of the Mu homologue, which appears to be a target-site sequence duplicated upon insertion. These findings indicate that the insertion sequence is a retroposon SINE, and it was therefore named AtSN (A. thaliana SINE). Many members of the AtSN family were identified through a computer-aided homology search of databases and classified into two subfamilies, AtSN1 and AtSN2, having consensus sequences 159 and 149 bp in length, respectively. These had no homology to SINEs in other organisms. About half of AtSN members were truncated through loss of a region at either end of the element. Most of them were truncated at the 5' end, and had a duplication of the target-site sequence. This suggests that the ones with 5' truncation retroposed by the same mechanism as those without truncation. Members of the AtSN1 or AtSN2 subfamilies had many base substitutions when compared with the consensus sequence. All of the members examined were present in three different ecotypes of A. thaliana (Columbia, Landsberg erecta, and Wassilewskija). These findings suggest that AtSN members had proliferatedbefore the A. thaliana ecotype strains diverged.