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Endogenous Retroviral Sequences; their Evolutionary Contribution to the Human Genome

  1. Jens Mayer

Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020825

eLS

eLS

How to Cite

Mayer, J. 2008. Endogenous Retroviral Sequences; their Evolutionary Contribution to the Human Genome. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Saarland University, Homburg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 MAR 2013)

Abstract

Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) comprise about 8% of the human genome. They stem from germ cell invasions of exogenous retroviruses in the evolutionary past. ERV transcripts are found in every human tissue and their expression patterns seem to be regulated by complex mechanisms. By introducing numerous regulatory elements into the genome ERVs profoundly influenced cellular genes regarding gene structure and gene expression patterns. While most ERV sequences in the human genome are coding-defective, some ERVs still encode proteins that appear to have become essential human genes or that appear to be involved in human diseases.

Keywords:

  • endogenous retrovirus;
  • repetitive sequence;
  • provirus;
  • gene structure;
  • genome evolution