The evolutionary dynamics of repetitive DNA in eukaryotes

Nature. 1994 Sep 15;371(6494):215-20. doi: 10.1038/371215a0.


Repetitive DNA sequences form a large portion of the genomes of eukaryotes. The 'selfish DNA' hypothesis proposes that they are maintained by their ability to replicate within the genome. The behaviour of repetitive sequences can result in mutations that cause genetic diseases, and confer significant fitness losses on the organism. Features of the organization of repetitive sequences in eukaryotic genomes, and their distribution in natural populations, reflect the evolutionary forces acting on selfish DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA*
  • DNA, Satellite
  • Eukaryotic Cells*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Satellite
  • DNA