Retrotransposons are mutagenic units able to move within the genome. Despite many defenses deployed by the host to suppress potentially harmful activities of retrotransposons, these genetic units have found ways to meld with normal cellular functions through processes of exaptation and domestication. The same host mechanisms targeting transposon mobility allow for expansion and rewiring of gene regulatory networks on an evolutionary time scale. Recent works demonstrating retrotransposon activity during development, cell differentiation and neurogenesis shed new light on unexpected activities of transposable elements. Moreover, new technological advances illuminated subtler nuances of the complex relationship between retrotransposons and the host genome, clarifying the role of retroelements in evolution, development and impact on human disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology