Short retroposons of the B2 superfamily: evolution and application for the study of rodent phylogeny

J Mol Evol. 1998 Feb;46(2):202-14. doi: 10.1007/pl00006295.


Short retroposons can be used as natural phylogenetic markers. By means of hybridization and PCR analysis, we demonstrate that B2 retroposon copies are present only in the three rodent families: Muridae, Cricetidae, and Spalacidae. This observation highlights the close phylogenetic relation between these families. Two novel B2-related retroposon families, named DIP and MEN elements, are described. DIP elements are found only in the genomes of jerboas (family Dipodidae) and birch mice (family Zapodidae), demonstrating the close relationship between these rodents. MEN element copies were isolated from the squirrel, Menetes berdmorei, but were not detected in three other species from the family Sciuridae. The MEN element has an unusual dimeric structure: the left and right monomers are B2- and B1-related sequences, respectively. Comparison of the B2, DIP, MEN, and 4.5S1 RNA elements revealed an 80-bp core sequence located at the beginning of the B2 superfamily retroposons. This observation suggests that these retroposon families descended from a common progenitor. A likely candidate for this direct progenitor could be the ID retroposon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muridae
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retroelements*
  • Rodentia / physiology*
  • Sciuridae
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Species Specificity


  • Retroelements

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X80307
  • GENBANK/X80308
  • GENBANK/X80309
  • GENBANK/X80310
  • GENBANK/X80311
  • GENBANK/X80312
  • GENBANK/X80313
  • GENBANK/X80314
  • GENBANK/X80315
  • GENBANK/X80316
  • GENBANK/X80317
  • GENBANK/X80318
  • GENBANK/X80319
  • GENBANK/X80320
  • GENBANK/Y09599
  • GENBANK/Y09600
  • GENBANK/Y09601