between two cheese fungi:
– In the paste of Roquefort and on the surface of Camembert, the microscopic filamentous fungi Penicillium roqueforti and Penicillium camembertii are responsible for the formation of a greenish-blue mould in the former case and a so-called “bloom” in the latter. Sequencing of the genomes of these two fungi has recently, and surprisingly, shown that these genomes contain more than 250 strictly identical genes, thus indicating a transfer of genes between these two species. This type of event, until now little described in eukaryotes, may therefore be much more common than previously thought.
So-called horizontal gene transfers between species are well documented in bacteria, but much less so in fungi and other eukaryote organisms, although examples of such transfers in wine-making yeasts have been described in recent years. It therefore appeared that these transfers were rare, sporadic and had little impact in eukaroytes. However, the sequencing of several Penicillium species has suggested that the contrary might be true. Indeed, a comparison of the genomes of two important cheese fungi, Penicillium roqueforti and Penicillium camembertii has revealed the presence of numerous totally identical sequence fragments, while other genomic regions were only 85-90% similar. More.
Unlike Darwinian natural selection, HGT, also called gene swapping, is a demonstrable method of evolution.
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