, Volume 107, Issue 1–3, pp 209–238 | Cite as

Genomes were forged by massive bombardments with retroelements and retrosequences

  • Jürgen Brosius


Retroposition is an efficient route to move coding regions around the genome ‘in search’ of novel regulatory elements and to shotgun regulatory elements into the genome ‘in search’ of new target genes. The templates for such retrogenes are mRNAs, and for regulatory retronuons (nuon=any definable nucleic acid sequence) usually small non-mRNAs. An example in support of the ‘master gene’ model for SINEs (short interspersed repetive elements) is provided with neuronal BC1 RNA. Furthermore, an alternative explanation of LINE (long interspersed repetive elements) involvement in the generation of SINEs is given. I will also argue that the status of transposable elements with respect to the host resembles more symbiosis than parasitiasis and that host defense is often lenient as if even to ‘tolerate or support’ retronuons. Finally the paradox of evolution's lack of foresight and the future exaptive use of retronuons is being dealt with by referring to W.F. Doolittle's ‘Hierarchical Approaches to Genome Evolution’.

evolution genomic symbionts host defense impact on genomes retronuons reverse transcription template switching 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen Brosius
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Experimental Pathology/Molecular Neurobiology, ZMBEUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany (Phone: +

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