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© 2018 The Author(s). Background: Alu elements are primate-specific retroposons that mobilize using the enzymatic machinery of L1 s. The recently completed baboon genome project found that the mobilization rate of Alu elements is higher than in the genome of any other primate studied thus far. However, the Alu subfamily structure present in and specific to baboons had not been examined yet. Results: Here we report 129 Alu subfamilies that are propagating in the genome of the olive baboon, with 127 of these subfamilies being new and specific to the baboon lineage. We analyzed 233 Alu insertions in the genome of the olive baboon using locus specific polymerase chain reaction assays, covering 113 of the 129 subfamilies. The allele frequency data from these insertions show that none of the nine groups of subfamilies are nearing fixation in the lineage. Conclusions: Many subfamilies of Alu elements are actively mobilizing throughout the baboon lineage, with most being specific to the baboon lineage.

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Mobile DNA