Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 235–242 | Cite as

Intron creation and DNA repair

  • Hermann RaggEmail author


The genesis of the exon–intron patterns of eukaryotic genes persists as one of the most enigmatic questions in molecular genetics. In particular, the origin and mechanisms responsible for creation of spliceosomal introns have remained controversial. Now the issue appears to have taken a turn. The formation of novel introns in eukaryotes, including some vertebrate lineages, is not as rare as commonly assumed. Moreover, introns appear to have been gained in parallel at closely spaced sites and even repeatedly at the same position. Based on these discoveries, novel hypotheses of intron creation have been developed. The new concepts posit that DNA repair processes are a major source of intron formation. Here, after summarizing the current views of intron gain mechanisms, I review findings in support of the DNA repair hypothesis that provides a global mechanistic scenario for intron creation. Some implications on our perception of the mosaic structure of eukaryotic genes are also discussed.


Intron creation DNA repair Splicing 


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© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of TechnologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany

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