Ep 74: side-stepping inheritance

side-stepping inheritance

Darwin originally published “On the Origins of Species” in 1859. At the time, the mechanism of inheritance wasn’t well understood. Inheritance and the implication that lifeforms could change over time stood in contrast to the popular notion that God had created all things in perfect and unchanging forms. His theory only considered traits that come from parents, in the case of sexual reproduction, and mutation, in asexual reproduction. It turns out that organisms, especially single celled forms, can and do snag genetic information from other organisms that they aren’t related to in the least. Today we look at some of the mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer, and some examples.