We propose a new conceptual framework to study the dynamics of transposable
elements. Based on a genetic algorithm, our model is designed as a self-or
ganizing system. Our results show that transposable elements could emerge f
rom a single endonuclease gene. The DNA repair mechanisms appear to conditi
on the emergence success of class II TEs. Antagonist selective forces actin
g on transposable elements and their hosts induce by their opposition diffe
rences in the sequence evolution of the functional domains and of the copie
s. (C) 2001 Academic Press.