Alu a-to-i RNA editing: Millions of sites and many open questions

Amos A. Schaffer, Erez Y. Levanon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Alu elements are repetitive short interspersed elements prevalent in the primate genome. These repeats account for over 10% of the genome with more than a million highly similar copies. A direct outcome of this is an enrichment in long structures of stable dsRNA, which are the target of adenosine deaminases acting on RNAs (ADARs), the enzymes catalyzing A-to-I RNA editing. Indeed, A-to-I editing by ADARs is extremely abundant in primates: over a hundred million editing sites exist in their genomes. However, despite the radical increase in ADAR targets brought on by the introduction of Alu elements, the few evolutionary conserved editing sites manage to retain their editing levels. Here, we review and discuss the cost of having an unusual amount of dsRNA and editing in the transcriptome, as well as the opportunities it presents, which possibly contributed to accelerating primate evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2021.


  • ADAR
  • Alu
  • RNA editing


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