Short interspersed nuclear elements (SINEs) are nonautonomous retrotransposons that occupy approximately 13% of the human genome. They are transcribed by RNA polymerase III and can be retrotranscribed and inserted back into the genome with the help of other autonomous retroelements. Because they are preferentially located close to or within gene-rich regions, they can regulate gene expression by various mechanisms that act at both the DNA and the RNA levels. In this review, we summarize recent findings on the involvement of SINEs in different types of gene regulation and discuss the potential regulatory functions of SINEs that are in close proximity to genes, Pol III-transcribed SINE RNAs, and embedded SINE sequences within Pol II-transcribed genes in the human genome. These discoveries illustrate how the human genome has exapted some SINEs into functional regulatory elements.