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Evolutionary Emergence of Genes Through Retrotransposition

  1. Richard Cordaux1,
  2. Mark A Batzer2

Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020783



How to Cite

Cordaux, R. and Batzer, M. A. 2008. Evolutionary Emergence of Genes Through Retrotransposition. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Poitiers, Poitiers, France

  2. 2

    Louisiana State University, Department of Biological Sciences, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2008


Variation in the number of genes among species indicates that new genes are continuously generated over evolutionary times. Evidence is accumulating that transposable elements, including retrotransposons (which account for about 90% of all transposable elements inserted in primate genomes), are potent mediators of new gene origination. Retrotransposons have fostered genetic innovation during human and primate evolution through: (i) alteration of structure and/or expression of pre-existing genes following their insertion, (ii) recruitment (or domestication) of their coding sequence by the host genome and (iii) their ability to mediate gene duplication via ectopic recombination, sequence transduction and gene retrotransposition.


  • retrotransposons;
  • genetic innovation;
  • recruitment;
  • gene duplication;
  • primate evolution