Mexican Jumping Genes

Researchers have found a large cluster of genes which jumped directly from one species of fungus to another, the first time such a horizontal transfer has been seen in organisms more complex than bacteria.

The tree of life just got tangled. If it’s a tree, it’s a banyan.

millions of years ago, a cluster of 23 genes jumped from one strain of mold commonly found on starchy foods like bread and potatoes,Aspergillus, to another strain of mold that lives in herbivore dung and specializes in breaking down plant fibers, Podospora

Discovery of jumping gene cluster tangles tree of life

Intriguingly, this set of genes seems to be important in the chemical attack and defense mechanisms of the fungi involved, and many of the drugs and poisons we get from fungi, we get from these genes.

Ok so they’re not Mexican. Picky picky.

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