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Bioessays. 2005 Apr;27(4):353-5.

Pack-MULEs: theft on a massive scale.

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California at Berkeley, 111 Koshland Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


It has been known for some time that plant transposons can capture and mobilize cellular genes. Recent work by Jiang and coworkers((1)) has revealed that this process has happened on a massive scale. They found that portions of more than 1000 genes in rice have been captured and mobilized by members of the MULE family of transposons. In rice, and perhaps other plants as well, it appears that thousands of genes and portions of genes have been duplicated, transposed and rearranged. These results have fascinating implications for our understanding of the mode and tempo of gene evolution in plants.

Copyright 2005 Wiley periodicals, Inc.

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