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The abundance and distribution pattern of eight mariner elements from three different subfamilies in the genome of the medfly Ceratitis capitata were determined. The copy numbers, as determined by slot-blot analysis, were very different for these elements. Their abundance did not change significantly within the native, the ancient or the newly derived populations, indicating that the rapid colonization process of the medfly had not affected the copy number of mariner elements. The distribution of the mariner elements was analyzed using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) with charge-coupled device (CCD) camera analysis. The pattern of distribution in euchromatin and heterochromatin varied greatly and was distinctive and specific for each element. The implications of these findings are discussed and it is concluded that they generally support the hypothesis of a transposition/selection model in which the abundance and distribution patterns of these elements are regulated primarily by selection against deleterious effects due to meiotic ectopic recombination, while genetic drift would have played a minor role.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





523 - 532


Department of Animal Biology, University of Pavia, Italy.


Animals, Diptera, DNA Primers, In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence, Base Sequence, Genome, Biological Evolution