We report the isolation of AtL1, a 249 bp non-LTR retrotransposon fragment from Arabidopsis thaliana by fingerprinting mRNAs extracted from A. thaliana plants, ecotype Columbia, in different heat stress conditions. Southern blot and PCR analysis suggested that AtL1 occurs as a single- or low-copy insert in the genome of A. thaliana ecotype Columbia. The presence of AtL1 in the genome of different Arabidopsis ecotypes was confirmed by PCR amplification and sequencing thus excluding all possible contamination. A preliminary scan of the AtL1 nucleotide sequence against the EMBL and NCBI databases revealed a high degree of similarity to a group of LINE type L1 retrotransposons of mammals and with a cDNA sequence of Artemisia annua. A phylogenetic analysis of LINE elements from animals and plants placed AtL1 and A. annua sequences in close proximity to some mammalian sequences but distant from the other plants LINE elements including those from Arabidopsis.
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