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Endogenous retroviruses of the chicken genome

Ahsan Huda, Nalini Polavarapu, I King Jordan* and John F McDonald

Author Affiliations

School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA

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Biology Direct 2008, 3:9  doi:10.1186/1745-6150-3-9

Published: 24 March 2008


We analyzed the chicken (Gallus gallus) genome sequence to search for previously uncharacterized endogenous retrovirus (ERV) sequences using ab initio and combined evidence approaches. We discovered 11 novel families of ERVs that occupy more than 21 million base pairs, approximately 2%, of the chicken genome. These novel families include a number of recently active full-length elements possessing identical long terminal repeats (LTRs) as well as intact gag and pol open reading frames. The abundance and diversity of chicken ERVs we discovered underscore the utility of an approach that combines multiple methods for the identification of interspersed repeats in vertebrate genomes.


This article was reviewed by Igor Zhulin and Itai Yanai.