Molecular Life Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert D. Wells, Judith S. Bond, Judith Klinman, Bettie Sue Siler Masters, Ellis Bell

Mobile DNA: Mechanisms, Utility, and Consequences

  • Adam R. Parks
  • Joseph E. Peters
Living reference work entry


Mobile DNA elements contain sequences that enable them to physically move within or between different DNA molecules in a cell. These elements are ubiquitous in nature and are found throughout each of the three domains of life and can be found in many ectopic DNA molecules, such as viral genomes and plasmids. They can perform a variety of functions for a host organism and mobilize genetic information from one host to another. There are three major strategies that are adopted by these elements to mobilize, which include transposition, conservative site-specific recombination, and target-primed reverse transcription. Mobilization of genetic elements is typically a highly regulated process and can have some important consequences or perform vital functions for organisms.


All organisms depend on faithful reproduction of their genetic material for their continued survival. However, in this section we will consider mobile genetic elements, segments of DNA that challenge...


Long Terminal Repeat Mobile Element Mobile Genetic Element Host Organism Strand Transfer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Control and Genetics Section, Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology LaboratoryNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthFrederickUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA