Questions about evolution (from a candid computer scientist)

Keith Robison robison1 at husc10.harvard.edu
Mon Mar 16 16:33:59 EST 1992

bessiere at imag.fr (Pierre Bessiere) writes:


>I am a computer scientist working on Genetic Algorithms.

>I have some (candid) questions to ask about the real staff (real evolution):

>3 - what mechanisms do exist, for species with no sexual reproduction, to 
>exchange genetic information between individuals?

Some examples:

	1. Information transfer via plasmids -- many bacteria can 
		pick up plasmids (circular DNAs) from their environment.
		This is often a mechanism for spreading antibiotic resistance.

	2. Information transfer via random DNA
		Some bacteria will grab any DNA from their environment.
		Also, this may be a mechanism for the transfer
		of genes from a symbiont to its host (as in the
		evolution of chloroplasts and mitochondria).

	3. Information transfer via viruses
		Some viruses can pick up chunks of their host's genome
		and then leave it behind in another host down the line.

>Thanks in advance for your answers.

Keith Robison
Harvard University
Program in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

robison at ribo.harvard.edu 

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