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FEBS Lett. 2011 Jun 6;585(11):1589-94. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.03.061. Epub 2011 Apr 6.

Retrotransposons: mobile and mutagenic from conception to death.

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  • Division of Genetics and Genomics, The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, UK. geoff.faulkner@roslin.ed.ac.uk


Mobile genetic elements feature prominently in mammalian genome evolution. Several transposition-competent retrotransposon families (L1, Alu, SVA) remain active in the human germ line, leading to pathogenesis as well as genome structural variation across the global population. High-throughput screening approaches have recently been developed to detect retrotransposon insertion polymorphisms. Evidence produced by these and other genome-scale technologies indicates an expanded role for retrotransposition in human biology, including somatic mobilisation in the developing embryo and in neural cells.

Copyright © 2011 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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