Three families of pararetrovirus-like sequences were isolated from the genome of potato using PCR of a characteristic fragment extending from the end of the transactivator domain. The potato pararetrovirus-like sequences are abundant in the nuclear genome of potato as demonstrated by their hybridisation to high-molecular weight DNA in Southern transfers and by fluorescence in situ hybridisation. Sequencing of cloned PCR products demonstrated that the potato pararetrovirus-like sequences were similar to other pararetroviral sequences and also to some expressed sequences from tobacco and tomato, notably from callus and Agrobacterium-infected tissue. It is possible that the potato pararetroviral sequences defend against viral genes via silencing mechanisms, although, as in Petunia or banana, their transcription and recombination may cause infection under stress conditions.   

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