Helitrons on a Roll: Eukaryotic Rolling-Circle Transposons

Trends Genet. 2007 Oct;23(10):521-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2007.08.004. Epub 2007 Sep 11.


Rolling-circle eukaryotic transposons, known as Helitron transposons, were first discovered in plants (Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa) and in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. To date, Helitrons have been identified in a diverse range of species, from protists to mammals. They represent a major class of eukaryotic transposons and are fundamentally different from classical transposons in terms of their structure and mechanism of transposition. Helitrons seem to have a major role in the evolution of host genomes. They frequently capture diverse host genes, some of which can evolve into novel host genes or become essential for helitron transposition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Duplication
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic


  • DNA Transposable Elements