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Transposable elements and psychiatric disorders

Authors

  • Guia Guffanti,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Simona Gaudi,

    1. Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Italian National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy
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  • James H. Fallon,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
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  • Janet Sobell,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Steven G. Potkin,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
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  • Carlos Pato,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Fabio Macciardi

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
    2. Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART), University of California, Irvine, California
    3. Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism, University of California, Irvine, California
    4. Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
    • Correspondence to:

      Fabio Macciardi, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, 5251 California Ave, Suite 240, Irvine, CA 92617.

      E-mail: fmacciar@uci.edu

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Abstract

Transposable Elements (TEs) or transposons are low-complexity elements (e.g., LINEs, SINEs, SVAs, and HERVs) that make up to two-thirds of the human genome. There is mounting evidence that TEs play an essential role in genomic architecture and regulation related to both normal function and disease states. Recently, the identification of active TEs in several different human brain regions suggests that TEs play a role in normal brain development and adult physiology and quite possibly in psychiatric disorders. TEs have been implicated in hemophilia, neurofibromatosis, and cancer. With the advent of next-generation whole-genome sequencing approaches, our understanding of the relationship between TEs and psychiatric disorders will greatly improve. We will review the biology of TEs and early evidence for TE involvement in psychiatric disorders. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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