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Trends Genet. 2007 Oct;23(10):521-9. Epub 2007 Sep 11.

Helitrons on a roll: eukaryotic rolling-circle transposons.

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Genetic Information Research Institute, 1925 Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA.


Rolling-circle eukaryotic transposons, known as Helitron transposons, were first discovered in plants (Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa) and in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. To date, Helitrons have been identified in a diverse range of species, from protists to mammals. They represent a major class of eukaryotic transposons and are fundamentally different from classical transposons in terms of their structure and mechanism of transposition. Helitrons seem to have a major role in the evolution of host genomes. They frequently capture diverse host genes, some of which can evolve into novel host genes or become essential for helitron transposition.

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