The Enigma of Y Chromosome Degeneration: TRAM, a Novel Retrotransposon is Preferentially Located on the Neo-Y Chromosome of Drosophila miranda
Manfred Steinemann, Sigrid Steinemann


We have cloned a novel transposable element from the neo-Y chromosome of Drosophila miranda. The size of the element, designated as TRAM, is 3.452 bp, including on both sides long terminal direct repeats (LTRs) of 372 bp, respectively. The element is flanked by a 5-bp target site duplication, ATATG. The putative primer binding site (PBS) for minus-strand priming is complementary to 18 nucleotides of the 3′-end of tRNATrp. Data base screens for DNA sequence identities were negative, apart from the sequence motif of the PBS. The deduced amino acid sequence from the large ORF does not' reveal identities described for other transposons. In situ hybridizations with TRAM subclones show a biased distribution in the genome, with a massive accumulation of TRAM in the neo-Y chromosome, while the former homologue, the X2 chromosome is devoid of TRAM sites. The enriched occurrence of the TRAM element at the evolving neo-Y chromosome of D. miranda adds compelling evidence in favor of the view that Y chromosome degeneration is driven by the accumulation of transposable elements.

  • Received July 16, 1996.
  • Accepted October 17, 1996.