Mobile genetic element

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Mobile genetic element in a cell (left) and its transfer (right).

A mobile genetic element is a DNA sequence whose position in the genome can be changed. The entirety of the mobile genetic elements in a genome is called a mobilome .


Mobile genetic elements are e.g. B. self-serving and / or cooperative DNA (such as transposons , retro elements , insertion sequences , miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements and inteins ), but also group II introns , inserting plasmids and some prophages (such as the mu-phage). Barbara McClintock received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of mobile genetic elements .

In bacteria, mobile genetic elements facilitate horizontal gene transfer for the exchange of resistance and virulence factors such as antibiotic resistance or islands of pathogenicity . Essential genes are comparatively seldom found on mobile genetic elements, since the probability of loss of essential genes is greater than with chromosomes .

ACLAME (from a classification of mobile genetic elements , a classification of mobile genetic elements) is an online database of mobile genetic elements.


  • WJ Miller, P. Capy (Eds.): Mobile genetic elements: protocols and genomic applications. Humana Press, 2004. ISBN 1-58829-007-7 .
  • James A. Shapiro (Ed.): Mobile genetic elements. Academic Press, 1983. ISBN 0-12-638680-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. SJ Tazzyman, S. Bonhoeffer: Why There Are No Essential Genes on the plasmid. In: Molecular biology and evolution. Volume 32, Number 12, December 2015, pp. 3079-3088, doi : 10.1093 / molbev / msu293 , PMID 25540453 .
  2. Raphaël Leplae, Lima-Mendez Gipsi, Toussaint Ariane: ACLAME: a CLAssification of Mobile genetic Elements, update 2010 . In: Nucleic Acids Res . 38, No. Database issue, England, January 2010, pp. D57-61. doi : 10.1093 / nar / gkp938 . PMID 19933762 . PMC 2808911 (free full text).