Transposable elements fall into three general groups: insertion sequences (which only encode gene products required for transposase synthesis and regulation), composite transposons (which are flanked by insertion sequenceson the left and right ends), and non-composite transposons (which lack flanking insertion sequences). In each case, transposition requires specific DNA sequences located at the ends where IS1, IS3, Tn5, Tn10, and Tn3) or a multisubunit complex (e.g. Tn7). Many transposons carry antibiotic resistance genes, but some transposons carry other genes (e.g. "catabolic transposons" carry genes for the catabolism of hydrocarbons). A few examples of transposable elements are shown below.
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Last modified October 14, 2003