Formerly regarded as ‘junk’ DNA, transposable elements are now thought to be players in genome evolution. A new study reveals remarkable conservation of a retrotransposon insertion acting as an alternative promoter to drive the expression of a cell cycle regulator isoform in early embryos, potentially controlling the timing of pre-implantation development.
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The authors declare no competing interests.
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Canat, A., Torres-Padilla, ME. Retrotransposing a promoter for development. Nat Cell Biol 23, 1221–1223 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-021-00806-7