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We identified a novel repeat family, termed Platy-1, in the Callithrix jacchus (common marmoset) genome that arose around the time of the divergence of platyrrhines and catarrhines and established itself as a repeat family in New World monkeys (NWMs). A full-length Platy-1 element is ∼100 bp in length, making it the shortest known short interspersed element (SINE) in primates, and harbors features characteristic of non-LTR retrotransposons. We identified 2268 full-length Platy-1 elements across 62 subfamilies in the common marmoset genome. Our subfamily reconstruction and phylogenetic analyses support Platy-1 propagation throughout the evolution of NWMs in the lineage leading to C. jacchus. Platy-1 appears to have reached its amplification peak in the common ancestor of current day marmosets and has since moderately declined. However, identification of more than 200 Platy-1 elements identical to their respective consensus sequence, and the presence of polymorphic elements within common marmoset populations, suggests ongoing retrotransposition activity. Platy-1, a SINE, appears to have originated from an Alu element, and hence is likely derived from 7SL RNA. Our analyses illustrate the birth of a new repeat family and its propagation dynamics in the lineage leading to the common marmoset over the last 40 million years.


Originally published in Genome Research

doi: 10.1101/gr.199075.115