Monday, December 15, 2008

Human DNA weirdness

In PNAS: The human genome in the LINE of fire.
One of the most surprising revelations of the sequencing of the human genome was that nearly half of our DNA is derived from transposable element (TE) insertions, and this is likely to be an underestimate, because many TE-derived sequences have diverged beyond recognition (1). Remarkably, the vast majority of human TE sequences result from the activity of a single class of TEs known as LINE retrotransposons. Represented by the currently active LINE-1 or L1 elements, LINEs are autonomous TEs that propagate in the genome by making RNA copies of themselves that are subsequently reverse transcribed and integrated into the genome (2–4). As a result of their ongoing activity during the past 150 million years, L1 elements account for approximately one-third of the human genome ...

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