Circular DNAs are extra-chromosomal fragments that become circularized by genomic recombination events. We have recently shown that yeast LTR elements generate circular DNAs through recombination events between their flanking long terminal repeats (LTRs). Similarly, circular DNAs can be generated by recombination between LTRs residing at different genomic loci, in which case the circular DNA will contain the intervening sequence. In yeast, this can result in gene copy number variations when circles contain genes and origins of replication. Here, I speculate on the potential and implications of circular DNAs generated through recombination between human transposable elements.
Keywords: Alu elements; circular DNAs; eccDNAs; evolution; genome; human; yeast.