Horizontal gene transfer and the origin of species: lessons from bacteria

Trends Microbiol. 2000 Mar;8(3):128-33. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(00)01703-0.


In bacteria, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is widely recognized as the mechanism responsible for the widespread distribution of antibiotic resistance genes, gene clusters encoding biodegradative pathways and pathogenicity determinants. We propose that HGT is also responsible for speciation and sub-speciation in bacteria, and that HGT mechanisms exist in eukaryotes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Virulence