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Alternative Transposition Generates New Genes by Exon Shuffling

     Author: Jianbo Zhang


A new mechanism of the generation of new genes is presented in the animation. Ac/Ds transposition requires a pair of one Ac/Ds 5′ end and one Ac/Ds 3′ end. In standard transposition, the Ac/Ds 5′ and 3′ ends are part of a single transposon, and the outcome of transposition is the excision of the element from a donor site and insertion into a target site. However, transposition reactions can also involve the 5′ and 3′ ends of different Ac/Ds elements, which can be in either a direct or reversed orientation with respect to each other. These alternative transposition events can generate deletions, duplications, inversions, reciprocal translocations, and other sequence rearrangements. These chromosomal rearrangements can generate new chimeric genes and alter the expression of genes near the breakpoint, which could promote the fixation of chromosomal rearrangements during evolution. This work is published in PLoS Genet. 2006 October; 2(10): e164.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under awards 0110170 and 0450243. The animation was generated using Adobe Flash Pro. Resolution was lost when converting the animation into a format compatible with youtube, a high-resolution (smaller-sized file) animation can be found on