Transposable elements (TEs) are present in all organisms and nearly half of the human and mouse genome is derived from ancient transpositions. This fact alone suggests that TEs have played a major role in genome organization and evolution. Studies undertaken over the last two decades or so clearly show that TEs of various kinds have played an important role in organism evolution. Here we review the impact TEs have on the evolution of gene regulation and gene function with an emphasis on humans. Understanding the mechanisms resulting in genomic change is central to our understanding of gene regulation, genetic disease and genome evolution. Full comprehension of these biological processes is not possible without an in depth knowledge of how TEs impact upon the genome.
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