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Genetica. 1994;93(1-3):191-201.

The mammalian genome shaping activity of reverse transcriptase.

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Unité de Génétique des Mammifères, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


Reverse transcriptase catalyses the conversion of RNA into DNA. This operation seems to have largely contributed to the evolution of complex genomes. More than 10% of a mammalian genome is composed of sequences with reverse transcribed origin, most of which consists of repeated sequences (SINEs, LINEs). In spite of their simplicity, these sequences can play a key role in evolution by favoring illegitimate recombination. In addition to this abundant material, retrotransposed sequences include retrotransposons, retroviruses and genes depleted from intervening sequences, known as pseudogenes. Some of these sequences can be functional or involved in the regulation of neighbouring genes. These hallmarks of reverse transcription activity indicate that it has largely contributed to the fluidity of modern genomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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