The effect of transposon Pokey insertions on sequence variation in the 28S rRNA gene of Daphnia pulex.Genome. 2008 Dec; 51(12):988-1000.G
The goal of this study was to determine the impact of breeding system and the presence of the transposon Pokey on intraindividual variation in 28S rRNA genes. We PCR-amplified, cloned, and sequenced 1000 nucleotides downstream of the Pokey insertion site in genes with and without insertions from 10 obligately and 10 cyclically parthenogenetic isolates of Daphnia pulex. Variation among genes with Pokey insertions was higher than variation among genes without insertions in both cyclic and obligate isolates. Although the differences were not quite significant (p = 0.06 in both cases), the results suggest that Pokey insertions are likely to inhibit the homogenization of their host genes to some extent. We also observed that the complement of 28S rRNA alleles differed between genes with and without inserts in some isolates, suggesting that a particular inserted gene can persist for substantial periods of time and even spread within the rDNA array, despite the fact that insertions are deleterious. This apparently contradictory pattern can be explained if homogenization of rRNA genes occurs primarily by gene conversion, but copies with Pokey inserts can occasionally increase in frequency within arrays owing to unequal crossing over events that do not originate in the inserted genes themselves.