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On the persistence of p element in cultured lineages of Drosophila melanogaster
P transposon is known to have invaded the Drosophila melanogaster genome in the 1950s as a result of horizontal transmission from D. willistoni. Part of the evidence supporting the timing of its invasion comes from analyses of cultured drosophila lineages originating from wild flies cultivated long time in laboratory before analysis. Such analyses have shown that P element was absent from the genomes of cultured lineages established from wild flies caught from the wild before the 1950s. Although the hypothesis of P element transmission has obtained multiple lines of evidence and is beyond doubt today, we decided to test whether analysis of cultured lineages can provide some temporal information on the P element population dynamics. In the present work we demonstrate that P element present the in wildcaught flies may be lost in the cultured fly lineages after some generations. This result is in accordance with the results of at least one published work and suggests that analysis of the cultured fly lineages may sometimes be unreliable in establishing historical trends in P element population dynamics, as the transposon may be occasionally lost, perhaps in the highly inbred lineages in which not all founding females carry it.
Key words: P transposon; drosophila; horizontal transfer
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