Mobile DNA in Old World monkeys: a glimpse through the rhesus macaque genome

Science. 2007 Apr 13;316(5822):238-40. doi: 10.1126/science.1139462.


The completion of the draft sequence of the rhesus macaque genome allowed us to study the genomic composition and evolution of transposable elements in this representative of the Old World monkey lineage, a group of diverse primates closely related to humans. The L1 family of long interspersed elements appears to have evolved as a single lineage, and Alu elements have evolved into four currently active lineages. We also found evidence of elevated horizontal transmissions of retroviruses and the absence of DNA transposon activity in the Old World monkey lineage. In addition, approximately 100 precursors of composite SVA (short interspersed element, variable number of tandem repeat, and Alu) elements were identified, with the majority being shared by the common ancestor of humans and rhesus macaques. Mobile elements compose roughly 50% of primate genomes, and our findings illustrate their diversity and strong influence on genome evolution between closely related species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cercopithecidae / genetics*
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Genome
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta / genetics*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Retroelements


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Retroelements