horizontal gene transfer

Not Exactly Rocket Science

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In Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story, Dr Henry Jekyll drinks a mysterious potion that transforms him from an upstanding citizen into the violent, murderous Edward Hyde. We might think that such an easy transformation would be confined to the pages of fiction, but a similar fate regularly befalls a common fungus called Fusarium oxysporum. A…

This article is reposted from the old WordPress incarnation of Not Exactly Rocket Science. A humble species of fruit fly is the genetic equivalent of a Russian doll – peer inside its DNA and you will see the entire genome of a species of bacteria hidden within. The bacteria in question is Wolbachia, the most…

For centuries, farmers have been genetically modifying their plants without even knowing it. That’s the message from German scientists who found that grafting, a common technique used to fuse parts of two plants together, causes the two halves to swap genes with each other. Grafting can involve fusing the stem of one plant (the scion)…

This is the seventh of eight posts on evolutionary research to celebrate Darwin’s bicentennial. It combines many of my favourite topics – symbiosis, horizontal gene transfer, parasitic wasps and viruses. Parasitic wasps make a living by snatching the bodies of other insects and using them as living incubators for their grubs. Some species target caterpillars,…