February 14, 2011

Gonorrhea Bacterium Acquires Piece of Human DNA

EurekAlert!, EurekAlert!


CDC

CHICAGO --- If a human cell and a bacterial cell met at a speed-dating event, they would never be expected to exchange phone numbers, much less genetic material. In more scientific terms, a direct transfer of DNA has never been recorded from humans to bacteria.

Until now. Northwestern Medicine researchers have discovered the first evidence of a human DNA fragment in a bacterial genome – in this case, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea. Further research showed the gene transfer appears to be a recent evolutionary event.

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TAGGED: Bacteria, Horizontal Gene Transfer, Evolution, Gonorrhea

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