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Vertebrate Genome Size and the Impact of Transposable Elements in Genome Evolution

  • Maria A. BiscottiEmail author
  • Federica Carducci
  • Ettore Olmo
  • Adriana Canapa
Chapter

Abstract

In eukaryotes, the haploid DNA content (C-value) varies widely across lineages without an apparent correlation with the complexity of organisms. This incongruity has been called the C-value paradox and has been solved by demonstrating that not all DNA is constituted by genes but, on the contrary, most of it is made up of repetitive DNA. In vertebrates, the increasing number of sequenced genomes has shown that differences in genome size between lineages are ascribable to a variation in transposon content. These mobile elements, previously perceived as “junk DNA” or “selfish DNA,” are now recognized as the major players in shaping genomes. During vertebrate evolution, transposable elements have been repeatedly co-opted and exapted to generate regulatory sequences, coding exons, or entirely new genes that lead to evolutionary advantages for the host. Moreover, transposable elements are also responsible for substantial rearrangements such as insertions, deletions, inversions, and duplications potentially associated with, or following, speciation events.

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

7SL RNA

eukaryotic small cytoplasmic RNA

Alu

Arthrobacter luteus restriction endonuclease

CR1

Chicken Repeat 1

en

endonuclease

env

envelope

ISL-1

Insulin gene enhancer protein ISL-1

L1

LINE1

L2

LINE2

L3

LINE3

LINE

Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements

LTR

Long Terminal Repeat

MITEs

Miniature Inverted-repeated Transposable Elements

pg/N

picograms/Nucleus

POMC

ProopioMelanoCortin gene

RAG1

Recombination-ActivatinG Protein 1

RAG2

Recombination-ActivatinG Protein 2

RT

Reverse Transcriptase

SatDNA

Satellite DNA

SINE

Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements

SINE-R

Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements-R, where R indicates a sequence of Retroviral origin

SNPs

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms

SETMAR

SET domain and Mariner transposase fusion gene

SVA

SINE-VNTR-Alu

TEs

Transposable Elements

TIR

Terminal Inverted Repeat

UTRs

UnTranslated Regions

VDJ

Variable Diversity Joining

VNTR

Variable Number of Tandem Repeats

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria A. Biscotti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Federica Carducci
    • 1
  • Ettore Olmo
    • 1
  • Adriana Canapa
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’AmbienteUniversità Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly

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