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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Sep 12;363(1505):2813-20. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0021.

Review. Genetic exchange and the origin of adaptations: prokaryotes to primates.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. arnold@plantbio.uga.edu


Data supporting the occurrence of adaptive trait transfer (i.e. the transfer of genes and thus the phenotype of an adaptive trait through viral recombination, lateral gene transfer or introgressive hybridization) are provided in this review. Specifically, we discuss examples of lateral gene transfer and introgressive hybridization that have resulted in the transfer or de novo origin of adaptations. The evolutionary clades in which this process has been identified include all types of organisms. However, we restrict our discussion to bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Each of these examples reflects the same consequence, namely that the transfer of genetic material, through whatever mechanism, may result in adaptive evolution. In particular, each of the events discussed has been inferred to impact adaptations to novel environmental settings in the recipient lineage.

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