Transposable elements (TEs) occupy a large fraction of the human genome but only a small proportion of these elements are still active today. Recent works have suggested that TEs are expressed and active in the brain, challenging the dogma that neuronal genomes are static and revealing that they are susceptible to somatic genomic alterations. These new findings have major implications for understanding the neuroplasticity of the brain, which could hypothetically have a role in behavior and cognition, and contribute to vulnerability to disease. As active TEs could induce genetic diversity and mutagenesis, their influences on human brain development and diseases are of great interest. In this review, we will focus on the active TEs in the human genome and discuss in detail their impacts on human brain development. Furthermore, the association between TEs and brain-related diseases is discussed.

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Ageing Research Reviews

Ahmadi, A, Toma, I., Vilor-Tejedor, N, Eftekhariyan Ghamsari, M.R., & Sadeghi, I. (2020). Transposable elements in brain health and disease. Ageing Research Reviews, 64. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2020.101153