Transposable elements and the evolution of regulatory networks

Nat Rev Genet. 2008 May;9(5):397-405. doi: 10.1038/nrg2337.


The control and coordination of eukaryotic gene expression rely on transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory networks. Although progress has been made in mapping the components and deciphering the function of these networks, the mechanisms by which such intricate circuits originate and evolve remain poorly understood. Here I revisit and expand earlier models and propose that genomic repeats, and in particular transposable elements, have been a rich source of material for the assembly and tinkering of eukaryotic gene regulatory systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Transposable Elements / physiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Genome / physiology*
  • Humans


  • DNA Transposable Elements