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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2003;57:275-99.

Transposable elements in filamentous fungi.

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  • 1Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, Université Paris-Sud, F-91405 Orsay cedex, France.


The past 10 years have been productive in the characterization of fungal transposable elements (TEs). All eukaryotic TEs described are found including an extraordinary prevalence of active members of the pogo family. The role of TEs in mutation and genome organization is well documented, leading to significant advances in our perception of the mechanisms underlying genetic changes in these organisms. TE-mediated changes, associated with transposition and recombination, provide a broad range of genetic variation, which is useful for natural populations in their adaptation to environmental constraints, especially for those lacking the sexual stage. Interestingly, some fungal species have evolved distinct silencing mechanisms that are regarded as host defense systems against TEs. The examination of forces acting on the evolutionary dynamics of TEs should provide important insights into the interactions between TEs and the fungal genome. Another issue of major significance is the practical applications of TEs in gene tagging and population analysis, which will undoubtedly facilitate research in systematic biology and functional genomics.

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