Red algae steal genes from bacteria to cope with environmental stresses

phys.org | 9/28/2018 | Staff
MysticHeart (Posted by) Level 3
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It's a case of grand larceny that could lead to new fuels and cleanup chemicals. Ten species of red algae stole about 1 percent of their genes from bacteria to cope with toxic metals and salt stress in hot springs, according to a study in the journal eLife.

These red algal species, known as Cyanidiales, also stole many genes that allow them to absorb and process different sources of carbon in the environment to provide additional sources of energy and supplement their photosynthetic lifestyle.

Role - Genes - Eukaryotes - Things - Algae

"The role of stolen genes in eukaryotes, which include most living things such as algae, has been hotly debated and many think it is unimportant and plays little to no role in their biology," said co-author Debashish Bhattacharya, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. "Our robust genome data provide the first major evidence that this is a false narrative and that adaptation to a challenging environment can be directly facilitated by stolen genes."

Finding such phenomena in nature inspires scientists to figure out how gene theft happens, and they can use these rules of nature...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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