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posted 13. May 2003 11:46
Annu. Rev. Genet. 2002. 36:389-410.
Chromosome Rearrangements and Transposable Elements
by Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig and Heinz Saedler
Abstract- There has been limited corroboration to date for McClintock's vision of gene regulation by transposable elements (TEs), although her proposition on the origin of species by TE-induced complex chromosome reorganizations in combination with gene mutations, i.e., the involvement of both factors in relatively sudden formations of species in many plant and animal genera, has been more promising. Moreover, resolution is in sight for several seemingly contradictory phenomena such as the endless reshuffling of chromosome structures and gene sequences versus synteny and the constancy of living fossils (or stasis in general). Recent wide-ranging investigations have confirmed and enlarged the number of earlier cases of TE target site selection (hot spots for TE integration), implying preestablished rather than accidental chromosome rearrangements for nonhomologous recombination of host DNA. The possibility of a partly predetermined generation of biodiversity and new species is discussed. The views of several leading transposon experts on the rather abrupt origin of new species have not been synthesized into the macroevolutionary theory of the punctuated equilibrium school of paleontology inferred from thoroughly consistent features of the fossil record.