Greetings all, and welcome to The Mobilome, my new blog venture. I’ve been musing about creating a TE-devoted blog for a while now because they don’t seem to be well represented in the blogosphere. The goal of this blog is to spread the word about how cool TEs and other parasitic nucleic acids are by talking about interesting elements, papers both old and new and perhaps some educational posts about what TEs in general and why they are important to understand. I’m going to assume most people reading this blog, if any do, will be familiar with TEs so I won’t go into detail off the bat about TE basics.
I am T.E. and I find TEs fascinating. I’m a graduate student at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada where I’m doing my Masters. I’m co-supervised by Dr. Teresa Crease and Dr. Ryan Gregory and my project involves a type of TE called Pokey found in freshwater crustaceans called Daphnia, or water fleas. I might say more about my project in the future and I’ll certainly tell you more about Pokey and why I think it is one of the most interesting TEs you could choose to study for a number of reasons.
So what are TEs exactly you ask? TEs are selfish, mobile pieces of DNA that inhabit the genomes of both prokaryotes and eukaryotes like tiny little parasites. I’ll be covering the classic TEs like DNA transposons and retrotransposons but I also plan to write some posts on some more obscure or less popularized types of parasitic nucleic acids as well.
What about the blog title you ask? Mobilome is a word that was coined, I believe and correct me if I am wrong, in a paper by Frost et al. (2005) to describe the collection of mobile genetic elements which inhabit the genomes of eubacteria and archaebacteria. It was further fleshed out in a book chapter by Janet Siefert (2009) where the different constituents of the mobilome were outlined. I’m merely extending it to describe the mobile DNA found in all forms of life.
Check back soon J
Frost, L.S., R. Leplae, A.O. Summers, and A. Toussaint. 2005. Mobile genetic elements: the agents of open source evolution. Nature Reviews Microbiology 3: 722-732.
Siefert, J.L. 2009. Defining the Mobilome. In Horizontal Gene Transfer: Genomes in Flux (eds. M.B. Gogarten J.P. Gogarten J. Peter, and L.C. Olendzenski). Humana Press.