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Curr Biol. 2006 Sep 5;16(17):R705-10.

Of what use is sex to bacteria?

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Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.


Though bacteria are predominantly asexual, the genetic information in their genomes can be expanded and modified through mechanisms that introduce DNA from outside sources. Bacterial sex differs from that of eukaryotes in that it is unidirectional and does not involve gamete fusion or reproduction. The input of DNA during bacterial sex generates diversity in two ways--through the alteration of existing genes by recombination and through the introduction of novel sequences--and each of these processes has been shown to aid in the survival and diversification of lineages.

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