Microbial Genes in the Human Genome:

Rcjohnsen rcjohnsen at aol.com
Sun Jun 24 03:24:01 EST 2001

Originally published in Science Express as 10.1126/science.1061036 on May 17,
Science, Vol. 292, Issue 5523, 1903-1906, June 8, 2001
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Microbial Genes in the Human Genome: Lateral Transfer or Gene Loss? 

Steven L. Salzberg,* Owen White, Jeremy Peterson, Jonathan A. Eisen  
The human genome was analyzed for evidence that genes had been laterally
transferred into the genome from prokaryotic organisms. Protein sequence
comparisons of the proteomes of human, fruit fly, nematode worm, yeast, mustard
weed, eukaryotic parasites, and all completed prokaryote genomes were
performed, and all genes shared between human and each of the other groups of
organisms were collected. About 40 genes were found to be exclusively shared by
humans and bacteria and are candidate examples of horizontal transfer from
bacteria to vertebrates. Gene loss combined with sample size effects and
evolutionary rate variation provide an alternative, more biologically plausible
The Institute for Genomic Research, 9712 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD
20850, USA. 
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: salzberg at tigr.org 

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