- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Who needs sex? – Rotifers import genes from fungi, bacteria and plants
You inherited your genes from your parents, half from your father and half from your mother. Almost all other animals contend with the same hand-me-down processes, but not the bdelloid rotifers. This intriguing group of small freshwater creatures are not content with their genetic hand-me-downs; they import genes too. A new study shows that their genomes are rife with legions of foreign DNA, transferred from bacteria, fungi and even plants.
The swapping of genetic material is all part of a day’s activity for bacteria but it’s incredibly rare in animals. But bdelloids are bringing in external genes to an extent that’s completely unheard of in complex organisms. Each rotifer is a genetic mosaic, whose DNA spans almost all the