Transposable elements are found in a large number of human protein-coding genes

Anton Nekrutenko, Wen Hsiung Li

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

326 Scopus citations


To study the genome-wide impact of transposable elements (TEs) on the evolution of protein-coding regions, we examined 13 799 human genes and found 533 (∼4%) cases of TEs within protein-coding regions. The majority of these TEs (∼89.5%) reside within 'introns' and were recruited into coding regions as novel exons. We found that TE integration often has an effect on gene function. In particular, there were two mouse genes whose coding regions consist largely of TEs, suggesting that TE insertion might create new genes. Thus, there is increasing evidence for an important role of TEs in gene evolution. Because many TEs are taxon-specific, their integration into coding regions could accelerate species divergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-621
Number of pages3
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


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