News & Events
Found new evidence of horizontal gene transfer by bacteria
- April 7, 2019
- Posted by: Wiley M. Wagner
- Category: Science
The fact that bacteria somehow pass on their genes for confronting various viruses and other bacteria to their descendants has long been proven – however, some time ago, experts also proved that bacteria can do this not only in a vertical but also in a horizontal way, spreading the genes and on other colonies and families of bacteria that grow and develop next to them. Today, the results of another, no less interesting research on what actually happens during the transfer of genes by bacteria — or, more precisely, how it is carried out.
Bacteriologists from universities in Russia, Canada, Chile and the United States joined the research team to study the characteristics of horizontal gene transfer and DNA fragments of viruses that accumulate in bacteria and which then become part of the genome of the bacterium itself, thus giving it an increased level of protection from these viruses in the future – the same genes are transmitted to other families of bacteria.
Experts, trying to find out the differences in this transmission of bacterial colonies in different parts of the Earth – using the example of the Thermus thermophiles family – suddenly discovered that in fact these colonies have a large number of similar genomic traits than originally thought. Scientists have found that despite the large distance separating them from each other, they have almost the same resistive genes from various viruses, despite the fact that these aggressor viruses themselves might not be present in this or that region. That, in turn, proves the fact that bacteria can carry their genes over much longer distances.
The theory of this was previously expressed by many teams of specialists in bacteriology and viruses, but until now it seemed like a kind of potential with very specific factors – however, a new study openly demonstrated that it is not, and that bacteria can actually transmit viral resistive genes to other families and colonies of similar bacteria for very significant distances.