Living Reference Work Entry

Molecular Life Sciences

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Date: Latest Version

Target-Site Selection

  • Adam R. ParksAffiliated withMolecular Control and Genetics Section, Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
  • , Joseph E. PetersAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Cornell University Email author 


Integration-site selection


Target-site selection refers to the process that is used by mobile genetic elements to identify a new genetic locus for insertion (Craig1997; Wu and Burgess2004). Most mobile elements exhibit at least some degree of target-site specificity. The specificity for a given target DNA can vary dramatically from element to element and often results from sequence preferences of the recombinase proteins. In addition to primary DNA sequence preferences, selection of a new DNA target may also be influenced by DNA accessibility, DNA structure, and cellular factors that are bound to the DNA.


Mobile genetic elements must regulate the timing and location of mobility to reduce damage to the host cell. While many mobile elements show a low level of specificity for any particular primary sequence and therefore can insert into a wide variety of genetic loci, virtually all mobile elements display some bias for certain features of the genome (Bushman et ...

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