Evolutionary dynamics of transposable elements in prokaryotes and eukaryotes

  title={Evolutionary dynamics of transposable elements in prokaryotes and eukaryotes},
  author={Donal A Hickey},
This paper summarizes some recent theories about the evolution of transposable genetic elements in outbreeding, sexual eukaryotic organisms. The evolutionary possibilities available to self-replicating transposable elements are shown to vary depending on the reproductive biology of the host genome. This effect can be used to explain, in part, the differences in abundance of transposable elements between prokaryotes and eukaryotes. It is argued that the pattern of sexual outbreeding seen in… 
From passengers to drivers
Experimental studies suggest an evolutionary conflict between presence of mismatch repair mutator alleles in a bacterial population dramatically reduced fixation of bacterial insertion sequence elements.
Horizontal transfer of P elements and other short inverted repeat transposons
Evidence for horizontal transfer of the P family of transposable elements in the genus Drosophila is reviewed and evaluated, along with observations consistent with the recent invasion of Drosophila
Selfish Genetic Elements Favor The Evolution of a Distinction Between Soma and Germline
  • L. J. Johnson
  • Biology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 2008
This work model the evolutionary success of a selfish element, such as a transposable element or endosymbiont, which is capable of creating or strengthening a germline-soma distinction in a primitively multicellular host, and finds that it will always benefit the element to do so.
Viruses and mobile elements as drivers of evolutionary transitions
  • E. Koonin
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2016
Evidence is presented that, at least up to and including the origin of multicellularity, evolutionary transitions are driven by the coevolution of hosts with these genetic parasites along with sharing of ‘public goods’.
Testing the retroelement invasion hypothesis for the emergence of the ancestral eukaryotic cell
It is shown that the only stable evolutionary consequence in simple cells is maintenance of retroelements in low numbers, suggesting how retrotransposition rates and costs in early eukaryotes could have been constrained to allow proliferation.
Genome Evolution of Asexual Organisms and the Paradox of Sex in Eukaryotes
This review focuses on potentially detrimental effects of asexuality on genome evolution, and compares the different genomic features, life cycles, developmental pathways, and cytological mechanisms in the major eukaryotic groups, i.e., in protists, animals, fungi, and plants.
Transfer RNA gene-targeted integration: an adaptation of retrotransposable elements to survive in the compact Dictyostelium discoideum genome
The current view of D. discoideum TEs is summarized and new data from the analysis of the complete sequences of D.'s chromosomes 1 and 2 are presented, which comprise more than one third of the total genome.
Dynamics of bacterial insertion sequences: can transposition bursts help the elements persist?
Transposition bursts do not help ISs persist in a bacterial population in the long run because most burst-induced mutations are deleterious and therefore not favoured by natural selection, however, bursts do create more genetic variation through which occasional advantageous mutations can help organisms adapt.
On the Origin of the Eukaryotic Cell
The emergence of eukaryotes should be regarded as being the result of coevolution of ecosystems, the biosphere, and even the Earth as a whole.
RNA in evolution
  • N. Lehman
  • Biology
    Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. RNA
  • 2010
The finding that RNA can be catalytic, and thus possess both a genotype and a phenotype, has forced us to consider the possibility that life's origins began with RNA, and that the subsequent diversification of life is aptly described as a string of innovations by RNA to adapt to a changing environment.


The population biology of transposable elements.
  • J. Brookfield
  • Biology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1986
The extent to which models designed to describe obvious transposable elements such as the mobile sequences of Drosophila are also applicable to interspersed repetitive DNAs from other species will be discussed.
Selfish DNA: a sexually-transmitted nuclear parasite.
A quantitative population genetics model for the evolution of transposable genetic elements is developed. This model shows that "selfish" DNA sequences do not have to be selectively neutral at the
The evolution of self-regulated transposition of transposable elements.
The conditions under which self-regulated rates of transposition can evolve in populations of transposable elements infecting sexually reproducing hosts are examined to show that both types of regulation can easily evolve in hosts with low rates of genetic recombination per generation.
Transposable Elements in Mendelian Populations. II. Distribution of Three COPIA-like Elements in a Natural Population of DROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER.
Twenty X chromosomes isolated from a natural population of Drosophila melanogaster were surveyed to determine the number and cytogenetic location of three families of transposable elements: copia, 412 and 297, suggesting rates of transposition and deletion for these elements are very high.
Evolution of transposable elements: an IS10 insertion increases fitness in Escherichia coli.
The results show that the IS10-generated insertion increases fitness in chemostat cultures and suggest that transposable elements may speed the rate of evolution by promoting nonhomologous recombination between preexisting variations within a genome and thereby generating adaptive variation.
The Population Biology of Bacterial Transposons: A Priori Conditions for Maintenance as Parasitic DNA
The model demonstrates that a conservative transposon cannot increase in frequency by transposition alone but that a replicating one can and argues against the generality of the hypothesis that transposons are parasitic DNA in prokaryotes.
Evolution of retroposons by acquisition or deletion of retrovirus-like genes.
Protein-sequence alignment data demonstrate that subsets of the retroposons contain different assortments of retroviral-like genes and suggest that xenologous recombination and/or independent gene assortment have played a role in the evolution of the Retroposon lineage.
Rapid spread of transposable p elements in experimental populations of Drosophila melanogaster.
It is suggested that the interaction between the assortment and recombination of chromosomal segments, and multiplicative transposition could result in the rapid spread of P elements in natural populations.
The population dynamics of transposable elements
Analytical and simulation models of the population dynamics of transposable elements in randomly mating populations, derived on the assumption of independence between different loci, and compared with simulation results show the general pattern seen in the simulations agrees quite well with theory.