Humans, primates regularly swap genes with microbes

March 13, 2015 2:52 PM

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But previously, scientists believed this was mostly a strategy of smaller organisms. A new study, however, suggests natural transgenics is equally common among larger species like humans. In fact, it's now clear that humans regularly swap genes with the germs they host and the plants they eat.

"This is the first study to show how widely horizontal gene transfer occurs in animals, including humans, giving rise to tens or hundreds of active 'foreign' genes," explained lead author Alastair Crisp, a researcher in chemical engineering and biotechnology at the University of Cambridge.

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