Standard Article

Repetitive DNA: Evolution

  1. Wolfgang Stephan1,
  2. Bruce Walsh2

Published Online: 21 DEC 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001700.pub2



How to Cite

Stephan, W. and Walsh, B. 2007. Repetitive DNA: Evolution. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

  2. 2

    University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 DEC 2007


Repetitive DNA sequences form a substantial fraction of the genomes of most eukaryotes. Far from conferring fitness benefits to their host, in most cases repetitive sequences are maintained solely by their ability to replicate within the genome.


  • tandem-repetitive DNA;
  • transposable elements;
  • ‘selfish DNA’ hypothesis;
  • mechanisms of copy-number change;
  • natural selection;
  • copy-number variation