Scientists at the University of Rochester and the J. Craig Venter Institute have discovered a copy of the genome of a bacterial parasite residing inside the genome of its host species. The research, reported in Science, also shows that lateral gene transfer—the movement of genes between unrelated species—may happen much more frequently between bacteria and multicellular organisms than scientists previously believed, posing dramatic implications for evolution. Such large-scale heritable gene transfers may allow species to acquire new genes and functions extremely quickly, says Jack Werren, a principal investigator of the study. If such genes provide new abilities in species that cause or transmit disease, they could provide new targets for fighting these diseases.
Published in Drug Discovery & Development magazine: Vol. 10, No. 10, October, 2007, p. 16.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery