Transposable elements and the evolution of genome organization in mammals

Genetica. 1992;86(1-3):287-93. doi: 10.1007/BF00133727.


All mammalian transposable elements characterized to date appear to be nonrandomly distributed in the mammalian genome. While no element has been found to be exclusively restricted in its chromosomal location, LINE elements and some retrovirus-like elements are preferentially accumulated in G-banding regions of the chromosomes, and in some cases in the sex chromosomes, while SINE elements occur preferentially in R-banding regions. Four mechanisms are presented which may explain the nonrandom genomic distribution of mammalian transposons: i) sequence-specific insertion, ii) S-phase insertion, iii) ectopic excision, and iv) recombinational editing. Some of the available data are consistent with each of these four models, but no single model is sufficient to explain all of the existing data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Defective Viruses / genetics
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mammals / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Retroviridae / genetics
  • Rodentia / genetics


  • DNA Transposable Elements