Horizontal Gene Transfer

Susan Jane Hogarth sjhogart at unity.ncsu.edu
Wed Feb 5 20:44:52 EST 1997


claude selitrennikoff wrote:

> I learned of many cases where similar metabolites were made by both
> host plants and fungi or bacteria that were associated with those
> plants. The similarity in metabolites seems like more than coincidence
> or convergent evolution.
> However, I was not able to dig up any references that demonstrated
> that horizontal gene transfer had occured in nature.  All the
> horizontal gene tranfers that were conclusive, were aided by genetic
> engineering by scientists.  If you find any examples in your search,
> I'd like to hear about them too.

What about the (proabable) transmission of antibiotic genes from
bacteria to fungi - I *think* penicillin is an example? From the way the
pathway genes are organized (monocistronicly, if that's a word), and
other evidence, it is guessed that at some point this pathway was
"appropriated" by fungi to help them compete against bacteria. Probably
others can give more detail and refs; I'm just dredging up old fungal
genetics class memories....

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