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Transposable elements (TEs) are highly expressed in preimplantation development. Preimplantation development is the phase when the cells of the early embryo undergo the first cell fate choice and change from being totipotent to pluripotent. A range of studies have advanced our understanding of TEs in preimplantation, as well as their epigenetic regulation and functional roles. However, many questions remain about the implications of TE expression during early development. Challenges originate first due to the abundance of TEs in the genome, and second because of the limited cell numbers in preimplantation. Here we review the most recent technological advancements promising to shed light onto the role of TEs in preimplantation development. We explore novel avenues to identify genomic TE insertions and improve our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms and roles of TEs and their RNA and protein products during early development.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem Soc Trans

Publication Date



epigenetics, gene regulation, preimplantation development, transposable elements