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Int J Evol Biol. 2012;2012:679045. doi: 10.1155/2012/679045. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Horizontal transfer and the evolution of host-pathogen interactions.

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Albacete Science and Technology Park, 02006 Albacete, Spain ; Regional Center for Biomedical Research (CRIB), The University of Castilla-La Mancha, Calle Almansa 14, 02006 Albacete, Spain.


Horizontal gene transfer has been long known in viruses and prokaryotes, but its importance in eukaryotes has been only acknowledged recently. Close contact between organisms, as it occurs between pathogens and their hosts, facilitates the occurrence of DNA transfer events. Once inserted in a foreign genome, DNA sequences have sometimes been coopted by pathogens to improve their survival or infectivity, or by hosts to protect themselves against the harm of pathogens. Hence, horizontal transfer constitutes a source of novel sequences that can be adopted to change the host-pathogen interactions. Therefore, horizontal transfer can have an important impact on the coevolution of pathogens and their hosts.

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