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Great exaptations

Kathleen H Burns1 and Jef D Boeke2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA

2 High Throughput Biology Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 733 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

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Journal of Biology 2008, 7:5  doi:10.1186/jbiol66

Published: 15 February 2008


Long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs) are among the most successful parasitic genetic sequences in higher organisms. Recent work has discovered many instances of LINE incorporation into exons, reminding us of the hazards they pose to genes in their vicinity as well as their potential to be co-opted for the host's purposes.