We have previously described multiallelic restriction fragment length polymorphisms of the C2 gene, suggesting the presence of a variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) locus. We report here the cloning and sequencing of the polymorphic fragments from the two most common alleles of the gene, a and b. The results confirm the presence of a VNTR locus consisting of a nucleotide sequence, 41 bp in average length, repeated tandemly 23 and 17 times in alleles a and b, respectively. The difference in the number of repeats between the two alleles is due to the deletion/insertion of two noncontiguous segments, 143 and 118 bp long, of allele a, and of a 40-bp segment of allele b. The VNTR region is associated with a SINE (short interspersed sequence)-type retroposon, SINE-R.C2, located within the third intron of the C2 gene. SINE-R.C2 is a member of a previously described large retroposon family of the human genome, apparently derived from the human endogenous retrovirus, (HERV) K10, which is homologous to the mouse mammary tumor virus.

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