Transposable elements (TEs) are nearly ubiquitous in eukaryotes. The increase in genomic data, as well as progress in genome annotation and molecular biology techniques, have revealed the vast number of ways mobile elements have impacted the evolution of eukaryotes. In addition to being the main cause of difference in haploid genome size, TEs have affected the overall organization of genomes by accumulating preferentially in some genomic regions, by causing structural rearrangements or by modifying the recombination rate. Although the vast majority of insertions is neutral or deleterious, TEs have been an important source of evolutionary novelties and have played a determinant role in the evolution of fundamental biological processes. TEs have been recruited in the regulation of host genes and are implicated in the evolution of regulatory networks. They have also served as a source of protein-coding sequences or even entire genes. The impact of TEs on eukaryotic evolution is only now being fully appreciated and the role they may play in a number of biological processes, such as speciation and adaptation, remains to be deciphered.
- genome evolution
- transposable elements