Transposable elements and the evolution of heterochromatin.

A. C. Spradling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Drosophila P elements were shown to insert frequently into telomeric and centromeric heterochromatin, and to prefer a region associated with efficient copy number regulation. Upon excision, P elements frequently altered the number of repeats in a tandem array of heterochromatic sequences, by inducing unequal gene conversion. These studies suggest that a flux of transposable element insertions and excisions has the capacity to rapidly and nonrandomly modify heterochromatic sequences dispersed at multiple chromosomal sites. We propose that transposable elements maintain genomic heterochromatin in a state of dynamic equilibrium and drive its rapid evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-83
Number of pages15
JournalSociety of General Physiologists Series
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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