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Open Access Research article

Gypsy endogenous retrovirus maintains potential infectivity in several species of Drosophilids

Jose V Llorens1, Jonathan B Clark2, Isabel Martínez-Garay1, Sirena Soriano1, Rosa de Frutos1 and María J Martínez-Sebastián1*

Author Affiliations

1 Departament de Genètica, Universitat de València, 46100-Burjassot, Valencia, Spain

2 Department of Zoology, Weber State University, Ogden, 84408-2505 Utah, USA

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2008, 8:302  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-302

Published: 31 October 2008

Abstract

Background

Sequences homologous to the gypsy retroelement from Drosophila melanogaster are widely distributed among drosophilids. The structure of gypsy includes an open reading frame resembling the retroviral gene env, which is responsible for the infectious properties of retroviruses.

Results

In this study we report molecular and phylogeny analysis of the complete env gene from ten species of the obscura group of the genus Drosophila and one species from the genus Scaptomyza.

Conclusion

The results indicate that in most cases env sequences could produce a functional Env protein and therefore maintain the infectious capability of gypsy in these species.