Retro element

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A retroelement is the term used to describe jumping elements ( transposons ) in the genome , the intermediate stage of which consists of ribonucleic acid (RNA). They are usually located at characteristic points in the DNA strand, encoded with an internally located and thus migrating promoter (starting point for transcription). In order to spread independently, the DNA segments have to be rewritten ( transcribed ) into mRNA like a normal gene . The mRNA then has to be rewritten into DNA in order to be able to be incorporated again at a new point in the genome. For this purpose, the retro elements are dependent on a reverse transcriptase , but do not necessarily have to have it themselves, but can also be used by others. Retro elements are a form of selfish DNA .

Retroelements either have long terminal repeats (LTR) (in the case of LTR retrotransposons or retrotransposons in the meantime and in the case of classic retroviruses and endogenous retroviruses ) or not ( retroposons , group II introns ).

Retro elements are also often referred to as retrotransposons. These usually have their own reverse transcriptase, but this does not apply to all retro elements.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Aaron R. Robart & Steven Zimmerly: Group II intron retroelements. Function and diversity . In: Cytogenetic Genome Research , Vol. 110 (2005), pp. 589-597, ISSN  1424-8581 doi : 10.1159 / 000084992 .


  • Yue Xiong & Thomas H. Eickbush: Origin and evolution of retroelements based upon their reverse transcriptase sequences . In: The EMBO Journal , Vol. 9 (1990), Issue 10, pp. 3353-3362, ISSN  0261-4189