Caister Academic Press

CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2002) 4: 65-76.

Transposable Elements and the Evolution of Eukaryotic Complexity

Nathan J. Bowen and I. King Jordan

Eukaryotic transposable elements are ubiquitous and widespread mobile genetic entities. These elements often make up a substantial fraction of the host genomes in which they reside. For example, approximately 1/2 of the human genome was recently shown to consist of transposable element sequences. There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that transposable elements have been major players in genome evolution. A sample of this evidence is reviewed here with an emphasis on the role that transposable elements may have played in driving the evolution of eukaryotic complexity. A number of specific scenarios are presented that implicate transposable elements in the evolution of the complex molecular and cellular machinery that are characteristic of the eukaryotic domain of life.

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