Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Horizontal transfer of short and degraded DNA has evolutionary implications for microbes and eukaryotic sexual reproduction.

Abstract Source:

Bioessays. 2014 Oct ;36(10):1005-10. Epub 2014 Aug 20. PMID: 25143190

Abstract Author(s):

Søren Overballe-Petersen, Eske Willerslev

Article Affiliation:

Søren Overballe-Petersen


Horizontal gene transfer in the form of long DNA fragments has changed our view of bacterial evolution. Recently, we discovered that such processes may also occur with the massive amounts of short and damaged DNA in the environment, and even with truly ancient DNA. Although it presently remains unclear how often it takes place in nature, horizontal gene transfer of short and damaged DNA opens up the possibility for genetic exchange across distinct species in both time and space. In this essay, we speculate on the potential evolutionary consequences of this phenomenon. We argue that it may challenge basic assumptions in evolutionary theory; that it may have distant origins in life's history; and that horizontal gene transfer should be viewed as an evolutionary strategy not only preceding but causally underpinning the evolution of sexual reproduction.

Study Type : Review
Additional Links

Print Options

Sayer Ji
Founder of

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get Nature's Evidence-Based Pharmacy

Our newsletter serves 500,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Download Now

500+ pages of Natural Medicine Alternatives and Information.

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2022, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.