Retrotransposition, Diversity and the Brain

  • Editors
  • Fred H. Gage
  • Yves Christen
Conference proceedings

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-74966-0

Part of the Research and Perspectives in Neurosciences book series

Table of contents (9 papers)

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XII
  2. Telomeres and Telomerase in Human Health and Disease
    Jue Lin, Elissa S. Epel, Elizabeth H. Blackburn
    Pages 1-12
  3. Molecular and Circuit Mechanisms for Hippocampal Learning
    Susumu Tonegawa, Thomas J. McHugh
    Pages 13-19
  4. Retrotransposons – Natural and Synthetic
    Jef D. Boeke, Wenfeng An, Lixin Dai, Edward S. Davis, Jeffrey S. Han, Kathryn A. O’Donnell et al.
    Pages 21-32
  5. Ancient Retrotransposons as Possible Remnants of the Primitive RNPWorld
    Roland Ivanyi-Nagy, Jean-Luc Darlix
    Pages 33-42
  6. Human Diversity and L1 Retrotransposon Biology: Creation of New Genes and Individual Variation in Retrotransposition Potential
    H.H. Kazazian, M.d.C Seleme, D.V Babusho, D.M. Ostertag, M.R. Vetter, P.K. Mandal
    Pages 43-52
  7. From the “RNAWorld” to Brain Complexity: Generation of Diversity
    Alysson R. Muotri, Maria C.N. Marchetto, Fred H. Gage
    Pages 53-64
  8. Endogenous Retroviruses and Human Neuropsychiatric Disorders
    Robert H. Yolken, Håkan Karlsson, Ioannis Bossis, Linnéa Asp, Faith Dickerson, Christoffer Nellåker et al.
    Pages 65-85
  9. Microcephalies and DNA Repair
    Edward C. Gilmore, Christopher A. Walsh
    Pages 109-120
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 121-123

About these proceedings


Retroelements are ancient mobile DNA found in most organisms. Long dismissed as useless, selfish or "junk" DNA, they were thought to be mere intracellular parasites from our distant evolutionary past. Together with their mutant relatives, L1 sequences constitute almost 50% of the mammalian genome. L1s can retrotranspose in a defined window of the neuronal differentiation, changing the genetic information in single neurons in a "random" fashion, allowing the brain to develop in distinct different ways. Such strategy contributes to expand the number of functionally distinct neurons that could be produced from a given stem cell gene pool. This characteristic of variety and flexibility may contribute to the uniqueness of an individual brain, even between genetically identical twins. These mobile elements may be part of conserved core process responsible for evoking facilitated complex non-random phenotypical variation on which selection may act. A detailed understanding of the basic mechanisms of L1 activity may shed light on one possible mechanism for generating neural diversity.

The book results from a fascinating and stimulating exchange of ideas at the interface of the complexity of brain organization and function, the mechanisms for generating diversity and genetic mobility. This meeting of leading geneticists, molecular biologists and neuroscientists was organized by the Fondation IPSEN. Its ambitious goal was to expand the current limits of research in neurobiology not only to the benefit of those interested in the cellular and molecular processes but also for the understanding of high-level cognitive functions and the understanding of complex mental diseases. The reader can judge how far the book achieves this.


DNA DNA repair Telomere endogenous retroviruses genes microcephalies neuropsychiatric disorders retrotransposons telomeres

Bibliographic information

  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag 2008
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Biomedical and Life Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-540-74965-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-540-74966-0
  • Series Print ISSN 1861-2253