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Promiscuous Bacteria and Viral Playboys

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Bacteria have been sexually promiscuous, swapping genes with gusto, for a very long time. More than 15% of E. coli's genome has arrived via horizontal gene transfer (HGT), with some 200 installments having turned up since it diverged from Salmonella 100 million years ago. And, as you are probably thinking, those 200 are but the tip of the HGT iceberg, the small fraction of transfers that were useful enough to be not only maintained by the recipient but also to spread through the population. But how much of this gene transport is the work of viruses?
 
 

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