Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Horizontal and vertical: The evolution of evolution
"Just suppose that Darwin's ideas were only a part of the story of evolution. Suppose that a process he never wrote about, and never even imagined, has been controlling the evolution of life throughout most of the Earth's history. [...] At the root of this idea is overwhelming recent evidence for horizontal gene transfer - in which organisms acquire genetic material "horizontally" from other organisms around them, rather than vertically from their parents or ancestors. The donor organisms may not even be the same species. This mechanism is already known to play a huge role in the evolution of microbial genomes, but its consequences have hardly been explored." Full article @ The New Scientist.