A scattered array of DNA acquired via horizontal transfer can co-evolve into a well-tuned, efficient genetic network to maximize an organism's fitness, a new linkurl:study;http://www.nature.com/msb/journal/v5/n1/full/msb200940.html finds. Reporting online earlier this month in __Molecular Systems Biology__, researchers showed that a single transcription factor in a tiny, salt-loving archaeon coordinates the expression of more than 100 newly-obtained genes.
Halobacterium salinarum
Image: Wikimedia
"It is the first time someone has demonstrated the global integration of recently acquired genes by a single transcription factor," linkurl:Nitin Baliga,;http://www.systemsbiology.org/Scientists_and_Research/Faculty_Groups/Baliga_Group/Profile a microbiologist at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Wash., who led the study, told __The Scientist__ in an email. "This is an important evolutionary process that impacts all organisms." Baliga and his colleagues used a combination of classical genetics, genome-wide approaches, and computational analyses to characterize how the sugar-specific transcriptional regulator TrmB affects metabolism in__ linkurl:Halobacterium salinarum,;http://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Halobacterium __the microbe that gives the Dead Sea its reddish...

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