LINEs are a large class of transposable elements in eukaryotes. They transpose by reverse transcription of an RNA intermediate. I elements of Drosophila melanogaster belong to this class and are responsible for the I-R system of hybrid dysgenesis. Many results indicate that at the beginning of the century natural populations of this species were devoid of active I elements and that they were invaded by functional I elements in the last decades. Many Drosophila species contain both defective and active I elements. It seems that the latter were lost in Drosophila melanogaster before its spread throughout the world, and that the recent invasion results from the spread of functional elements originating either from another species by horizontal transfer or from an isolated population of the same species. These data are discussed, as well as their significance in evolutionary processes.