Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Stolen Genes

An article from Science Magazine is posing the question if eukaryotes have had an evolutionary "helping hand" because of their cell nucleus when it comes to genes that are transferred from bacteria. When scientists analyzed the genomes of some red algae, which are single-celled eukaryotes, they found that 1% of the genes came from foreign origins. It is suggested that these genes that were acquired helped them adapt to their environments. Prokaryotes regularly and heavily swap genes within a species and it is suggested that this ability is beneficial to evolution.

I wasn't aware that prokaryotes were capable of swapping genes and would really like to know more about how that works. This article from NCBI talks a little bit about genetic switches. The article stated that the sequencing of the human genome has also suggested that at some point humans may have picked up microbial genes, which I also find very interesting.

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