Endogenous Retroviruses in Domestic Animals
Koldo Garcia-Etxebarria, Maialen Sistiaga-Poveda and Begona Marina Jugo
Affiliation: Genetika, Antropologia Fisikoa eta Animalien Fisiologia Saila. Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea. Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). 644 Postakutxa , E-48080 Bilbao, Spain.
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are genomic elements that are present in a wide range of vertebrates. Although
the study of ERVs has been carried out mainly in humans and model organisms, recently, domestic animals have
become important, and some species have begun to be analyzed to gain further insight into ERVs. Due to the availability
of complete genomes and the development of new computer tools, ERVs can now be analyzed from a genome-wide
viewpoint. In addition, more experimental work is being carried out to analyze the distribution, expression and interplay
of ERVs within a host genome. Cats, cattle, chicken, dogs, horses, pigs and sheep have been scrutinized in this manner, all
of which are interesting species in health and economic terms. Furthermore, several studies have noted differences in the
number of endogenous retroviruses and in the variability of these elements among different breeds, as well as their expression
in different tissues and the effects of their locations, which, in some cases, are near genes. These findings suggest
a complex, intriguing relationship between ERVs and host genomes. In this review, we summarize the most important in
silico and experimental findings, discuss their implications and attempt to predict future directions for the study of these
Keywords: Endogenous retrovirus, Domestic animals, Detection, Expression.
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