Epigenetic interactions between transposons and genes: lessons from plants

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2008 Apr;18(2):188-92. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2008.01.015. Epub 2008 Mar 12.


Transposons replicate, increase in copy number and persist in nature by moving, but insertion into genes is generally mutagenic. There is thus a strong selection for transposons that can achieve a balance between their own replication and minimal damage to their host. Epigenetic regulation proves to be a widespread way to achieve this balance, quieting transposition on the one hand, yet reversible on the other. As our understanding of epigenetics improves, the subtleties and the scope of how transposons can affect gene expression, both directly and indirectly, are becoming clearer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Gene Amplification / genetics
  • Genome, Plant / genetics
  • Humans
  • Plants / genetics*


  • Chromatin
  • DNA Transposable Elements