Three subfamilies of the En/Spm-type transposable element of carrot, Tdc A, B, and C, were characterized. It was supposed that the Tdc A subfamily may include autonomous elements which can produce transposases. Tdc B elements are defective, but still generate transcripts containing mutant open reading frame (ORF) sequences for transposases. The single member of the Tdc C group recovered seems to be a pseudogene. The sequences of the transposase ORFs of Tdc A and Tdc B elements are more highly conserved than those of the 5; and 3; untranslated regions and introns, as is found in other structural genes that are subject to selection. These observations indicate that the mutations in the nucleotide sequences of the Tdc elements occurred in the host genome. However, the mutations in the 5; and 3; untranslated regions and introns, which may not be sufficient to prevent transposition, accumulated in autonomous elements, which could transpose and produce copies. When the reproduction rate and the rate of disabling mutations reached an equilibrium, that is, when the birth rate of the transposable elements in the genome equalled the death rate, the population of elements achieved a stationary state in the genome, and could thus survive.