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Rather than getting a gene for its original function, a horizontal gene transfer provides the raw material for evolutionary innovation.

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The presence of similar light-emitting enzymes in the distantly related organisms lends new insight into bioluminescence evolution.

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The plant Lophophytum pilfers mitochondrial genes from the species it parasitizes.

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image: Black Widow Secrets in Phage Genome

Black Widow Secrets in Phage Genome

By Jef Akst | October 12, 2016

In the DNA of the WO phage, which infects arthropod-inhabiting Wolbachia, researchers find sequences related to a black widow spider’s toxin and other animal genes.

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image: Lateral Gene Transfer in <em>Drosophila</em>

Lateral Gene Transfer in Drosophila

By Kelly Robinson and Julie Dunning Hotopp | October 1, 2016

DNA transfer is a regular event among bacteria, and research over the past decade has shown that microbes can also shuttle their genetic material to multicellular hosts.

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image: Bacteria and Humans Have Been Swapping DNA for Millennia

Bacteria and Humans Have Been Swapping DNA for Millennia

By Kelly Robinson and Julie Dunning Hotopp | October 1, 2016

Bacteria inhabit most tissues in the human body, and genes from some of these microbes have made their way to the human genome. Could this genetic transfer contribute to diseases such as cancer?

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image: Parasite’s Genes Persist in Host Genomes

Parasite’s Genes Persist in Host Genomes

By Rina Shaikh-Lesko | September 17, 2015

Researchers find evidence of gene flow from parasitoid wasps to the butterflies and moths they lay eggs in.

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image: Fish Make Their Own Sun Protection

Fish Make Their Own Sun Protection

By Jenny Rood | May 14, 2015

Zebrafish and other vertebrates have the enzymatic machinery to synthesize gadusol, an ultraviolet light-absorbing compound.

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image: Horizontal Gene Transfer a Hallmark of Animal Genomes?

Horizontal Gene Transfer a Hallmark of Animal Genomes?

By Jyoti Madhusoodanan | March 12, 2015

Foreign genes in animal genomes may be of bacterial or fungal origin, according to a new analysis.

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image: Gene Jumped to All Three Domains of Life

Gene Jumped to All Three Domains of Life

By Kerry Grens | December 1, 2014

By horizontal gene transfer, an antibacterial gene family has dispersed to a plant, an insect, several fungi, and an archaeon.

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