The L1Hs preTa subfamily of long interspersed elements (LINEs) originated after the divergence of human and chimpanzee and is therefore found only in the human genome. Thirty-three of the 254 L1Hs preTa elements are polymorphic for the absence/presence of the insertion, making them useful markers for studying human population genetics. The problem of homoplasy, however, can diminish the value of LINEs as phylogenetic and population genetic markers. We examined anomalous orthologous sites in a range of nonhuman primates. Only two cases of other mobile elements inserting near the preintegration sites of L1Hs preTa elements were observed: an AluY insertion in Chlorocebus and an L1PA8 insertion in Aotus. Sequence analysis showed that both elements were clearly distinguishable from their human counterparts. We conclude that L1 elements can continue to be regarded as essentially homoplasy-free genetic characters.
- Long interspersed element
- Mobile element