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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1996 Feb;5(1):13-7.

Cases of ancient mobile element DNA insertions that now affect gene regulation.

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  • Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, USA. rbritten@darby.bio.uci.edu


There is no doubt that mobile elements are a major source of mutation and that in many cases insertions cause changes in the expression of genes, but a question remains open. What has the long-term effect of these processes been? The data collected here show that in many eukaryotes, segments of repetitive DNA (mobile elements) that have been inserted in the past in regions of many eukaryote genes have been preserved by selection and now affect the transcriptional control of these specific genes. At least five of the examples are considered to be solid cases demonstrating this history. There are a number of significant but less compelling sets of evidence that support the concept that the insertion of mobile elements in gene regions could be a major source of regulatory variation in evolution.

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