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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2009 Dec;19(6):607-12. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2009.10.013. Epub 2009 Nov 13.

Transposable elements in gene regulation and in the evolution of vertebrate genomes.

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  • Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore 138672, Singapore. bourque@gis.a-star.edu.sg


Repetitive DNA and in particular transposable elements have been intimately linked to eukaryotic genomes for millions of years. Once overlooked for being only a collection of selfish debris and a nuisance for sequence assembly, genomic repeats are now being recognized as a key driving force in genome evolution. Indeed, by changing the DNA landscape of genomes, transposable elements have been a rich source of innovation in genes, regulatory elements and genome structures. In this review, I will focus on recent advances that demonstrate that genomic repeats have had a global impact on vertebrate gene regulatory networks. I will also summarize results that show how transposable elements have been a major catalyst of structural rearrangements throughout evolution.

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