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Trends Genet. 1997 May;13(5):197-201.

What restricts the activity of mariner-like transposable elements.

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  • 1Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. dhartl@oeb.harvard.edu


A number of mechanisms have recently been described that might be important in restricting the level of activity of mariner-like transposable elements (MLEs) in natural populations. These mechanisms include overproduction inhibition, in which increasing the dose of transposase decreases net activity. Another mechanism is mediated by certain missense mutations, in which a mutant transposase protein impairs the activity of the wild-type transposase in heterozygous mutant/nonmutant genotypes. A further mechanism is the potential for transposase titration by defective elements that retain transposase binding activity. The issue of regulation is not only of theoretical importance in understanding the molecular and evolutionary genetics of MLEs, but also of practical significance in learning how best to use MLEs in the germline transformation of insect pests and disease vectors.

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