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Retroelements (REs) actively reshape genomes through genomic rearrangements, creation of new genes and modulation of the regulatory machinery of existing genes, thus introducing genomic novelties which potentially may be subject to natural selection. Thousands of RE integrations, presumably distinguishing the human and chimpanzee genomes, might well be involved in modern human speciation. In this self-review we describe our recent results on genome-wide identification of human specific RE integrations and their transcriptional activity obtained with three new experimental techniques (TGDA, DiffIR and SDDIR) developed by us for such studies. A new mechanism of the formation of retroelements involving template switches during L1-mediated mRNA reverse transcription, revealed in this research, will also be described in the review.


A Buzdin, T Vinogradova, Y Lebedev, E Sverdlov. Genome-wide experimental identification and functional analysis of human specific retroelements. Cytogenetic and genome research. 2005;110(1-4):468-74

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PMID: 16093700

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