Structures of P transposable elements and their sites of insertion and excision in the Drosophila melanogaster genome

Cell. 1983 Aug;34(1):25-35. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(83)90133-2.


We have isolated and characterized several members of the P transposable element family from a Drosophila melanogaster P strain. Large 2.9 kb elements are present as multiple highly conserved copies together with smaller (0.5-1.6 kb), heterogeneous elements. The complete DNA sequences of the 2.9 kb element and four small elements (previously isolated from hybrid-dysgenesis-induced mutations of the white locus) have been determined. Each small element appears to have arisen from the 2.9 kb element by a different internal deletion. P elements have 31 bp perfect inverse terminal repeats and upon insertion duplicate an 8 bp sequence found only once at the site of insertion. Three of the insertions into the white locus occurred at the same nucleotide, indicating a high degree of local site specificity for insertion. The basis of this specificity has been investigated by DNA sequence analysis of the sites where 18 P elements are found. A revertant of one of the white locus mutants has been found to result from precise excision of the P element, restoring the wild-type DNA sequence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Genes*
  • Mutation
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA Transposable Elements

Associated data

  • GENBANK/V01520