JON WILSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JON WILSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Yeast retrotransposon, computer illustration. A retrotransposon is a mobile piece of DNA (deoxy- ribonucleic acid) genetic material that can become incorporated at any site in an organism's genome. Transposons are known as "jumping genes" due to their tendency to move around the genome. Some hold functional genes (pieces of genetic material that encode proteins), and their movement within the genome can dramatically alter their organism's properties. A retrotransposon is so named as it replicates in a similar way to a retrovirus. This involves transcription to RNA (ribonucleic acid) followed by the creation of a DNA copy by the enzyme reverse transcriptase.
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