A 21st century view of evolution: genome system architecture, repetitive DNA, and natural genetic engineering

Gene. 2005 Jan 17;345(1):91-100. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2004.11.020. Epub 2005 Jan 4.


The last 50 years of molecular genetics have produced an abundance of new discoveries and data that make it useful to revisit some basic concepts and assumptions in our thinking about genomes and evolution. Chief among these observations are the complex modularity of genome organization, the biological ubiquity of mobile and repetitive DNA sequences, and the fundamental importance of DNA rearrangements in the evolution of sequenced genomes. This review will take a broad overview of these developments and suggest some new ways of thinking about genomes as sophisticated informatic storage systems and about evolution as a systems engineering process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Rearrangement / genetics*
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin / genetics
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements