Interspersed repetitive sequences

Interspersed repetitive sequences are identical or nearly identical DNA sequences that are scattered throughout the genome, as a result of transposition or retrotransposition events. One example is the Alu element, a sequence 300 bp that belongs to the short interspersed elements (SINE) family and is found in the genome of primates, with >1 million copies in the human genome.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Transposable elements (TE) are the dominant constituent of plant genomes. Here the authors develop a tool to analyze TE insertion sites in 3000 rice genomes and provide evidence for recent TE activity during cultivation and that external, rather than genetic, stimuli trigger most activations.

    • Marie-Christine Carpentier
    • , Ernandes Manfroi
    • , Fu-Jin Wei
    • , Hshin-Ping Wu
    • , Eric Lasserre
    • , Christel Llauro
    • , Emilie Debladis
    • , Roland Akakpo
    • , Yue-Ie Hsing
    •  & Olivier Panaud
  • Reviews |

    PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) have numerous crucial biological roles, particularly transposon silencing in the germ line. In this Review, the authors describe our latest understanding of piRNA biogenesis and functions across diverse species, highlighting how, despite the universal importance of transposon control, different species have evolved intriguingly distinct mechanistic routes to achieve this.

    • Deniz M. Ozata
    • , Ildar Gainetdinov
    • , Ansgar Zoch
    • , Dónal O’Carroll
    •  & Phillip D. Zamore
  • Reviews |

    The repetitive nature of transposable elements (TEs) creates bioinformatic challenges that frequently result in them being disregarded (‘masked’) in analyses. As physiological and pathological roles for TEs become increasingly appreciated, this Review discusses bioinformatics tools dedicated to TE analysis, including for genomic annotation, TE classification, identifying polymorphisms and assessing likely functional impacts.

    • Patricia Goerner-Potvin
    •  & Guillaume Bourque
  • Reviews |

    Long interspersed element-1 (LINE-1) transposable elements are active in the human genome. In this Review, Burns describes how the retrotransposition activity of LINE-1 in cancer genomes can result in somatically acquired insertions that mark evolving tumour clones.

    • Kathleen H. Burns
    Nature Reviews Cancer 17, 415-424

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