The integrase domain of RNA-mediated elements (class I) and the transposase domain of DNA-mediated transposable elements (class II) were compared. A number of elements contain the DDE signature, which plays an important role in their integration. The possible relationships between mariner-Tc1 and IS elements, retrotransposons, and retroviruses were analyzed from an alignment of this region. The mariner-Tc1 superfamily, and LTR retrotransposons and retroviruses were found to be monophyletic groups. However, the IS elements of bacteria were found in several groups. These results were used to propose an evolutionary history that suggests a common ancestor for some integrases and transposases.