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Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2002 Jul;4(3):65-76.

Transposable elements and the evolution of eukaryotic complexity.

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  • 1Section on Eukaryotic Transposable Elements, Laboratory of Eukaryotic Gene Regulation, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Abstract

Eukaryotic transposable elements are ubiquitous and widespread mobile genetic entities. These elements often make up a substantial fraction of the host genomes in which they reside. For example, approximately 1/2 of the human genome was recently shown to consist of transposable element sequences. There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that transposable elements have been major players in genome evolution. A sample of this evidence is reviewed here with an emphasis on the role that transposable elements may have played in driving the evolution of eukaryotic complexity. A number of specific scenarios are presented that implicate transposable elements in the evolution of the complex molecular and cellular machinery that are characteristic of the eukaryotic domain of life.

PMID:
12074196
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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