Characterization of a new murine endogenous retrovirus-related sequence named MuERVC-C105 is reported. This sequence was found to be most similar to the murine leukemia C-type retroviruses and to murine defective endogenous retrovirus-like families MuRRS and MuRVY, although MuERVC-C105 has a novel LTR. MuERVC-C105, like MuRRS and MuRVY, represents a family of retrovirus- like sequences characterized by many defects in its reading frames. Phylogenetic analyses, in particular analysis of nonsynonymous and synonymous nucleotide substitutions in the descent of these sequences, revealed that the MuERVC-C105, MuRRS, and MuRVY families were each derived from a different nondefective retroviral ancestor, thus justifying the new family name MuERVC. These nondefective ancestors cluster together with Gibbon Ape Leukemia Virus, but were nearly as distinct from each other as are other subgroups of murine leukemia virus (MoMLV, BaEV, GALV). The analysis further indicated that, in spite of the high density of defects in these three families, most of their divergence from their common ancestor was as nondefective retroviruses.
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