Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Dr. David Kass

Second Advisor

Dr. Aaron Liepman

Third Advisor

Dr. Marianne Laporte


Retrotransposons are a group of transposable elements (TEs) that integrate into new chromosomal locations via an RNA intennediate. They are known as "jumping genes" and are transcribed as RNA, copied into DNA, and then moved to new sites in the genome. These elements comprise a large proportion of mammalian genomes. There are two types of retrotransposons- those with or without long terminal repeats. The most extensively studied family of L TR elements is known as endogenous retroviruses, which fonn when retroviruses integrate their own DNA within the genn line of their hosts. The mysTR family of LTRretrotransposons appears to be limited to genomes of the Cricetidae family of rodents and is potentially related to mysERV6 elements of the Muridae rodent family. The objective of this study is to trace the ancestry of these elements. By utilizing "intra-mysTR PCR", we generated and analyzed sequences of mysTR and mysTR-related elements from various rodents. The generation of a molecular phylogeny using sequences from nutria, guinea pig, squirrel, and deer mouse, generated in this study, along with additional available DNA sequence data suggest the mysERV6 and mysTR elements originated from a single retroviral integration. These results provide continued insights into the origins and evolution of mammalian TEs, particularly since different ERV s are active in certain rodent genomes.

Included in

Biology Commons