The bdelloid rotifer Adineta vaga under a polychromatic polarization microscope
Bacterial Enzyme Keeps Rotifers’ Transposable Elements in Check
Jumping genes in bdelloid rotifers are tamped down by DNA methylation performed by an enzyme pilfered from bacteria roughly 60 million years ago, a study finds.
ABOVE: Courtesy of Michael Shribak, Irina Yushenova
Bacterial Enzyme Keeps Rotifers’ Transposable Elements in Check
Bacterial Enzyme Keeps Rotifers’ Transposable Elements in Check

Jumping genes in bdelloid rotifers are tamped down by DNA methylation performed by an enzyme pilfered from bacteria roughly 60 million years ago, a study finds.

Jumping genes in bdelloid rotifers are tamped down by DNA methylation performed by an enzyme pilfered from bacteria roughly 60 million years ago, a study finds.

ABOVE: Courtesy of Michael Shribak, Irina Yushenova

transposons

Human DNA abstract dotwork vector illustration made of cloud of colored dots.
Adapting with a Little Help from Jumping Genes
Christie Wilcox | Jan 17, 2022
Long lambasted as junk DNA or genomic parasites, transposable elements turn out to be contributors to adaptation.
Organisms from infographic about transposable elements
Infographic: How Transposable Elements Can Shape Evolution
Christie Wilcox | Jan 17, 2022
The movements of so-called jumping genes can generate the genetic diversity needed to drive evolutionary change in populations over time.  
A compilation of several images, including a dog, a blind mole rat, and cell micrographs
Our Favorite Cancer Stories of 2021
Amanda Heidt | Dec 9, 2021
This year revealed just how much scientists have learned about the disease, from how animals become naturally cancer-resistant to how tumor cells harness extracellular DNA to develop rapid drug resistance.
blind mole rat
Blind Mole Rats Use Junk DNA to Combat Cancer
Ruth Williams | Sep 30, 2021
Activation of retrotransposons in the animals’ cancerous cells sets off an innate immune response that triggers cell death.
close-up of a retina showing blood vessels and a damaged spot
DNA in Cell Cytoplasm Implicated in Age-Related Blindness
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 29, 2021
A new study suggests that DNA synthesized in the cell cytoplasm drives retinal cell death in an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
silhouette of a chimpanzee swinging against a blue sky
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails
Annie Melchor | Sep 23, 2021
A transposable element that jumped into the TBXT gene, which is linked to tail morphology, appears to be to blame for our missing appendage.
Male Flies’ Y Chromosome May Contribute to Earlier Deaths
Jef Akst | Jul 13, 2020
As male Drosophila grow old, selfish genetic elements that are abundant on the Y chromosome become more active, which appears to reduce longevity.
Transposons Identified as Likely Cause of Undiagnosed Diseases
Jef Akst | Jan 13, 2020
A tool for identifying jumping gene insertions in DNA sequencing data turns up possible explanations for four patients’ rare developmental disorders.
Taming the Transposon Hordes
Ruth Williams | Jan 1, 2019
Researchers repurpose the CRISPR machinery to turn whole classes of transposable elements on or off.
Jumping Genes Inactivated with CRISPR in Pigs
Shawna Williams | Aug 10, 2017
The study could pave the way for transplanting porcine organs to humans without the risk of reigniting endogenous retroviruses.
A Walk on the Wild Side
Mary Beth Aberlin | Feb 1, 2017
Plants have so much to teach us.
RNA Pathway Helps Keep Flies Alive
Ben Andrew Henry | Dec 21, 2016
An anti-transposon pathway previously thought to function only in reproductive tissue also helps reduce harmful mutations in body cells of fruit flies.
Gene Behind Black Peppered Moth’s Color Change Identified
Tanya Lewis | Jun 6, 2016
A transposon underlies this classic story of evolutionary adaptation.
Tethering Transposons
Ruth Williams | Oct 15, 2015
Panoramix, a newly identified transcription repressor, takes the bounce out of jumping genes.
Wrangling Retrotransposons
Andrei Seluanov, Michael Van Meter, Vera Gorbunova | Mar 1, 2015
These mobile genetic elements can wreak havoc on the genome. Researchers are now trying to understand how such activity contributes to the aging process.
How Transposons Shaped Pregnancy
Kate Yandell | Jan 29, 2015
A mass migration of mobile regulatory elements increased the expression of thousands of genes in the uterus during the evolution of pregnancy.
Contributors
Molly Sharlach | Jan 1, 2015
Meet some of the people featured in the January 2015 issue of The Scientist.
Performance Art
Mary Beth Aberlin | Jan 1, 2015
Regulation of genome expression orchestrates the behavior of insect castes and the human response to social stress.
A Movable Defense
Eugene V. Koonin and Mart Krupovic | Jan 1, 2015
In the evolutionary arms race between pathogens and hosts, genetic elements known as transposons are regularly recruited as assault weapons for cellular defense.