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Short Interspersed Elements (SINEs)

  1. Carl W Schmid,
  2. Carol M Rubin

Published Online: 23 SEP 2005

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0005325



How to Cite

Schmid, C. W. and Rubin, C. M. 2005. Short Interspersed Elements (SINEs). eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of California, Davis, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 SEP 2005


Short interspersed elements (SINEs) are highly repetitive sequences that retrotranspose into eukaryotic DNA through intermediates transcribed by RNA polymerase III (pol III). In many species, SINEs are a ubiquitously dispersed feature of the whole genome, often constituting a significant (∼10%) mass fraction of total DNA. SINEs cause mutations both by their retrotransposition within genes and by unequal recombination, and are widely considered to be examples of ‘selfish’ or ‘parasitic’ DNA.


  • SINEs;
  • Alu;
  • retrotransposition;
  • transposons;
  • selfish DNA