Supplementary Material for: Transposons, Genome Size, and Evolutionary Insights in Animals

The relationship between genome size and the percentage of transposons in 161 animal species evidenced that variations in genome size are linked to the amplification or the contraction of transposable elements. The activity of transposable elements could represent a response to environmental stressors. Indeed, although with different trends in protostomes and deuterostomes, comprehensive changes in genome size were recorded in concomitance with particular periods of evolutionary history or adaptations to specific environments. During evolution, genome size and the presence of transposable elements have influenced structural and functional parameters of genomes and cells. Changes of these parameters have had an impact on morphological and functional characteristics of the organism on which natural selection directly acts. Therefore, the current situation represents a balance between insertion and amplification of transposons and the mechanisms responsible for their deletion or for decreasing their activity. Among the latter, methylation and the silencing action of small RNAs likely represent the most frequent mechanisms.