First evidence of miniature transposable elements in sponges (Porifera)

Dirk Erpenbeck, Jürgen Schmitz*, Gennady Churakov, Dorothée Huchon, Gert Wörheide, Bernard M. Degnan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transposable elements play a vital role in genome evolution and may have been important for the formation of the early metazoan genome, but only little is known about transposons at this interface between unicellular opisthokonts and Metazoa. Here, we describe the first miniature transposable elements (MITEs, Queen1 and Queen2) in sponges. Queen1 and Queen2 are probably derived from Tc1/mariner-like MITE families and are represented in more than 3,800 and 1,700 copies, respectively, in the Amphimedon queenslandica genome. Queen elements are located in intergenic regions as well as in introns, providing the potential to induce new splicing sites and termination signals in the genes. Further possible impacts of MITEs on the evolution of the metazoan genome are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Amphimedon queenslandica
  • Early diverging Metazoa
  • MITE
  • Porifera
  • Queen elements
  • Transposable element


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