Transposable elements are discrete segments of DNA that can move from one genomic location to another. These elements are nearly ubiquitous and had a profound impact on the genome of their host trough genomic rearrangement, modification of gene expression and function... In mammals, retrotranposons constitute the major fraction of mobile DNA found in the genome, the remaining part being composed of DNA transposons and endogenous viruses.
The mariner family is one of the most successful group of DNA transposons. They are found in a wide variety of organisms, ranging from insects to humans. These transposons are composed of a single gene encoding the transposase surrounded by two short inverted terminal repeats (ITR) and they are mobilized through a cut-and-paste mechanism. Our lab work primarily on a reconstructed human transposon, Hsmar1, that invaded the primate genome lineage ~ 50 millions years ago and is now inactive.