Illustration of a DNA virus sneaking genetic material into a host’s nucleus
Infographic: Possible Mechanisms of Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes
Genetic studies have made it clear that eukaryotic horizontal gene transfer can and does happen. Exactly how, though, remains speculative.
Infographic: Possible Mechanisms of Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes
Infographic: Possible Mechanisms of Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes

Genetic studies have made it clear that eukaryotic horizontal gene transfer can and does happen. Exactly how, though, remains speculative.

Genetic studies have made it clear that eukaryotic horizontal gene transfer can and does happen. Exactly how, though, remains speculative.

jumping genes
Cow image
Slideshow: Examples of Eukaryotic Horizontal Gene Transfer
Christie Wilcox | Jul 5, 2022
Horizontally transferred genes play significant roles in eukaryotic genomes
Landscape illustration
Horizontal Gene Transfer Happens More Often Than Anyone Thought
Christie Wilcox | Jul 5, 2022
DNA passed to and from all kinds of organisms, even across kingdoms, has helped shape the tree of life, to a large and undisputed degree in microbes and also unexpectedly in multicellular fungi, plants, and animals.
A compilation of several images, including a dog, a blind mole rat, and cell micrographs
Our Favorite Cancer Stories of 2021
Amanda Heidt | Dec 9, 2021
This year revealed just how much scientists have learned about the disease, from how animals become naturally cancer-resistant to how tumor cells harness extracellular DNA to develop rapid drug resistance.
blind mole rat
Blind Mole Rats Use Junk DNA to Combat Cancer
Ruth Williams | Sep 30, 2021
Activation of retrotransposons in the animals’ cancerous cells sets off an innate immune response that triggers cell death.
close-up of a retina showing blood vessels and a damaged spot
DNA in Cell Cytoplasm Implicated in Age-Related Blindness
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 29, 2021
A new study suggests that DNA synthesized in the cell cytoplasm drives retinal cell death in an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
silhouette of a chimpanzee swinging against a blue sky
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails
Annie Melchor | Sep 23, 2021
A transposable element that jumped into the TBXT gene, which is linked to tail morphology, appears to be to blame for our missing appendage.
Transposons Identified as Likely Cause of Undiagnosed Diseases
Jef Akst | Jan 13, 2020
A tool for identifying jumping gene insertions in DNA sequencing data turns up possible explanations for four patients’ rare developmental disorders.
Jumping Genes Inactivated with CRISPR in Pigs
Shawna Williams | Aug 10, 2017
The study could pave the way for transplanting porcine organs to humans without the risk of reigniting endogenous retroviruses.
RNA Protects “Naked” Genomes from Retrotransposons
Shawna Williams | Jun 30, 2017
Transfer RNA fragments prevent jumping genes from hopping around in the mouse embryo, when histone methylation can’t do the job.
Gene Behind Black Peppered Moth’s Color Change Identified
Tanya Lewis | Jun 6, 2016
A transposon underlies this classic story of evolutionary adaptation.
Before the Genes Jumped, 1930s
Sabrina Richards | Jan 1, 2012
How Nobel Laureate Barbara McClintock nearly gave up genetics for meteorology