Transposable elements (TE) constitute one of the most variable genomic features among vertebrates, impacting genome size, structure, and composition. Despite their important role in shaping genomic diversity, they have mostly been studied in mammals, which display one of the least diverse genomes in terms of TE diversity. Recent new resources in reptilian genomics have opened a broader perspective about TE evolution in amniotes. We discuss these recent results by showing that TE diversity is high in reptiles, particularly in squamates, with strong heterogeneity in the number of TE classes retained in each lineage, even at short evolutionary scales. More research is needed to uncover the exact mechanisms that regulate TE proliferation in reptiles and to what extent these selfish elements can play a role in local adaptation or in the emergence of barriers to gene flow.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology