Transposons Up the Dosage

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Science  15 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6160, pp. 812-813
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246659

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It took more than three decades—and a Nobel Prize in 1983—for Barbara McClintock's discovery of transposition and mobile genetic elements to become widely accepted. However, her vision of transposons as “controlling elements” and architects of genome organization has remained controversial. On page 846 of this issue, a report by Ellison and Bachtrog brings McClintock's prescient ideas back to center stage (1). They show that transposition has shaped the regulatory landscape of an entire chromosome at least twice in the evolutionary history of Drosophila, facilitating the emergence of novel sex chromosomes.