Scientists observe real-time transposon activity in living cells
Transposable elements, also known as “jumping genes,” are ubiquitous mobile genetic sequences that self-copy and excise in order to propagate within its host genome. In addition to their wide use as molecular tools, their activity contributes to disease and is necessary for evolution and maintaining genetic diversity. Until recently, our understanding of the rate of transposable element propagation was limited to population averages and models. In an article published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Professors Thomas Kuhlman and Nigel Goldenfeld have expanded our knowledge of transposons; by utilizing genetic constructs that contain fluorescent reporters, CPLC researchers can directly detect and quantify transposon activity in live cells.