The first real evidence of horizontal transfer of specific DNA segments called transposons has been obtained by genome biologist Cédric Feschotte and postdoctoral researchers Clément Gilbert and Sarah Schaack. The findings will be published in the journal Nature.
Transposons are pieces of DNA that can replicate and change position within a genome, indicating that these horizontal transfers could have had potentially dramatic impacts on the evolution of many species, including mammals...and us.
The effects observed between a bug and a snail are intriguing, but how transposons can spread across a broad range of species is still a mystery. Almost half of the human genome is composed of transposons, emphasizing the findings´ potential import.