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Hidden Jewel: Are eukaryotic genes spreading in prokaryotic populations?
Two Faculty Members have selected for evaluation a paper identifying a surprising case of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) of eukaryotic cytoskeletal proteins to a prokaryotic cyanobacterium.
Mohan Balasubramanian (National University of Singapore, Singapore), a Faculty of 1000 Biology Member for Cell Biology, remarks: "This is the first report of a true actin (i.e. not MreB or ParM related) in a bacterium".
Debashish Bhattacharya (University of Iowa, USA), a Genomics & Genetics Faculty Member, also commented on the paper, saying: "The fact that this rare direction of transfer was detected in a cultivated sample and in limited analyses of natural extracts suggests that eukaryote to prokaryote HGT may occur more frequently in nature than previously thought."