, Volume 88, Issue 7, pp 641-643
Date: 14 May 2010

Sleeping Beauty jumps to new heights

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Transposons are segments of DNA that can move around to different positions in the genome of a single cell [1]. In the process, they may cause mutations and thereby increase (or decrease) the amount of DNA in the genome. These mobile segments of DNA are sometimes called “jumping genes”. There are two distinct types of transposons. Class I transposons (retrotransposons) first transcribe the DNA into RNA and then use reverse transcriptase to make a DNA copy of the RNA to insert in a new location. Class II transposons consist only of DNA that moves directly from place to place. Most Class II transposons move by a “cut-and-paste” process (rather like your personal computer if you rely on the command-X and command-V function). The transposon is cut out of its location analogous to the command/control-X on a computer. The transposon is then inserted into a new location with the command/control-V maneuver. The ends of many transposons contain inverted repeats that are identical or nearly iden ...