A relationship between transposable elements (TEs) and the eukaryotic stress response was suggested in the first publications describing TEs. Since then, it has often been assumed that TEs are activated by stress, and that this activation is often beneficial for the organism. In recent years, the availability of new high-throughput experimental techniques has allowed further interrogation of the relationship between TEs and stress. By reviewing the recent literature, we conclude that although there is evidence for a beneficial effect of TE activation under stress conditions, the relationship between TEs and the eukaryotic stress response is quite complex.
Keywords: activation; fitness effects; gene regulation; repression; silencing mechanisms.
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