Horizontal gene transfer in plants
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Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) describes the transmission of genetic material across species boundaries. HGT often occurs in microbic and eukaryotic genomes. However, the pathways by which HGTs occur in multicellular eukaryotes, especially in plants, are not well understood. We systematically summarized more than ten possible pathways for HGT. The intimate contact which frequently occurs in parasitism, symbiosis, pathogen, epiphyte, entophyte, and grafting interactions could promote HGTs between two species. Besides these direct transfer methods, genes can be exchanged with a vector as a bridge: possible vectors include pollen, fungi, bacteria, viruses, viroids, plasmids, transposons, and insects. HGT, especially when involving horizontal transfer of transposable elements, is recognized as a significant force propelling genomic variation and biological innovation, playing an important functional and evolutionary role in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic genomes. We proposed possible mechanisms by which HGTs can occur, which is useful in understanding the genetic information exchange among distant species or distant cellular components.
KeywordsEndosymbioses Grafting Horizontal gene transfer Parasitism HGT pathway Plant evolution
Horizontal gene transfer
This work was supported financially by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (code 31260335) and the Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (code 20123603120002). A. Mason is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE120100668).
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