Taming transposable elements in vertebrates: from epigenetic silencing to domestication.

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Almeida, Miguel Vasconcelos 
Vernaz, Grégoire 
Putman, Audrey LK 
Miska, Eric A 

Transposable element (TE)-derived sequences are ubiquitous in most eukaryotic genomes known to date. Because their expression and mobility can lead to genomic instability, several pathways have evolved to control TEs. Nevertheless, TEs represent an important source of genomic novelty and are often co-opted for novel functions that are relevant for phenotypic divergence and adaptation. Here, we review how animals, in particular vertebrates, mitigate TE mobility and expression, alongside known examples of TE domestication. We argue that the next frontier is to understand the determinants and dynamics of TE domestication: how they shift from 'non-self' targets of epigenetic silencing to 'self' genetic elements. New technologies enable avenues of research that may close the gap between epigenetic silencing and domestication of TEs.

TE domestication, epigenetic silencing, genome evolution, transposable elements (TEs), vertebrates, Animals, DNA Transposable Elements, Domestication, Epigenesis, Genetic, Eukaryota, Evolution, Molecular, Vertebrates
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Trends Genet
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Elsevier BV
Wellcome Trust (219475/Z/19/Z)
Cancer Research UK (A27826)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (101027241)
Wellcome Trust (203144/Z/16/Z)
Cancer Research UK (C6946/A24843)
This work was supported by the following grants to E.A.M.: Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (219475/Z/19/Z) and CRUK awards (C13474 and A27826). M.V.A. is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101027241. G.V. thanks Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge, and the Genetics Society, London for financial support. A.L.K.P. is grateful to the Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust for financial support. Finally, the authors also acknowledge core funding to the Gurdon Institute from Wellcome (092096/Z/10/Z, 203144/Z/16/Z) and CRUK (C6946/A24843). For Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.