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2022-01-07T00:26:00.0000000Z
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New research shows gene exchange between viruses and hosts drives evolution

ScienceDaily

Source: University of British Columbia
The first comprehensive analysis of viral horizontal gene transfer (HGT) illustrates the extent to which viruses pick up genes from their hosts to hone their infection process, while at the same time hosts also co-opt useful viral genes.

The first comprehensive analysis of viral horizontal gene transfer (HGT) illustrates the extent to which viruses pick up genes from their hosts to hone their infection process, while at the same time hosts also co-opt useful viral genes.

HGT is the movement of genetic material between disparate groups of organisms, rather than by the "vertical" transmission of DNA from parent to offspring. Previous studies have looked at HGT between bacteria and their viruses and have shown that it plays a major role in the movement of genes between bacterial species. However the new study, published in Nature Microbiology, looks at interactions between viruses and eukaryotes, which include animals, plants, fungi, protists and most algae.

"We knew from individual examples that viral genes have played a role in the evolution of eukaryotes. Even humans have viral genes, which are important for our development and brain function," said the study's lead author, Dr. Nicholas Irwin, a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, University of Oxford, and former PhD student at the University of British Columbia (UBC). "We wanted to understand more broadly how HGT has affected viruses and eukaryotes from across the tree of life."

Read On: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220105111420.htm

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