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Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2009;74:225-34. doi: 10.1101/sqb.2009.74.052. Epub 2010 May 7.

Molecular evolution of piRNA and transposon control pathways in Drosophila.

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Watson School of Biological Sciences, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.


The mere prevalence and potential mobilization of transposable elements in eukaryotic genomes present challenges at both the organismal and population levels. Not only is transposition able to alter gene function and chromosomal structure, but loss of control over even a single active element in the germline can create an evolutionary dead end. Despite the dangers of coexistence, transposons and their activity have been shown to drive the evolution of gene function, chromosomal organization, and even population dynamics (Kazazian 2004). This implies that organisms have adopted elaborate means to balance both the positive and detrimental consequences of transposon activity. In this chapter, we focus on the fruit fly to explore some of the molecular clues into the long- and short-term adaptation to transposon colonization and persistence within eukaryotic genomes.

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