Analysis of the spotted gar genome suggests absence of causative link between ancestral genome duplication and transposable element diversification in teleost fish

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Teleost fish have been shown to contain many superfamilies of transposable elements (TEs) that are absent from most tetrapod genomes. Since theories predict an increase in TE activity following polyploidization, such diversity might be linked to the 3R whole-genome duplication that occurred approximately 300 million years ago before the teleost radiation. To test this hypothesis, we have analyzed the genome of the spotted gar Lepisosteus oculatus, which diverged from the teleost lineage before the 3R duplication. Our results indicate that TE diversity and copy numbers are similar in gar and teleost genomes, suggesting that TE diversity was ancestral and not linked to the 3R whole-genome duplication. We propose that about 25 distinct superfamilies of TEs were present in the last ancestor of gars and teleost fish about 300 million years ago in the ray-finned fish lineage.

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