Of the many things that have been said about gonorrhea, here’s one thing no one ever guessed: gonorrhea is a little bit human. A study published in mBio today reveals that the genomes of some strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae carry a piece of the human long interspersed nuclear element (LINE) L1.
This is the first time a piece of human DNA has been found in a bacterium. “We’ve never seen an inter-kingdom jump between a human genome and a bacterial genome,” says co-author H. Steven Seifert. Seifert is a Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s a proof of principle that you can get that wide a leap.”
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