Mariner elements were amplified using the polymerase chain reaction from two species of tephritid flies, Ceratitis rosa and Trirhithrum coffeae. The sequences were similar to 1.3 kb in length. None of these elements appeared to be functional, as in every case the open readnig frame (ORF) was disrupted by the presence of frameshifts or stop codons. These elements, Crmar1 and Tcmar1, are very similar to the Ccmar1 element previously amplified from the closely related tephritid species C. capitata and are members of the mellifera subfamily of mariner elements. The phylogeny and pattern of divergence of these elements were examined in relation to the phylogeny of the host species. It is highly probable that the elements were present in the ancestral lineage prior to the divergence of the three species. The copy numbers of the elements within each species are very different, ranging from about 10 in T. coffeae to 5,000 in C. rosa. The possible mechanisms which determine the copy number of an element n the host genome are discussed.
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