Cross-species gene transfer; implications for a new theory of evolution

J Theor Biol. 1985 Jan 21;112(2):333-43. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5193(85)80291-5.


It has been established that genes can be transferred and expressed among procaryotes of different species. I am hypothesizing--and there is mounting evidence for this conclusion--that genes are transferred and expressed among all species, and that such exchange is facilitated by, and can help account for, the existence of the biological unities, from the uniform genetic code to the cross-species similarity of the stages of embryological development. If this idea is correct, the uniformity of the genetic code would allow organisms to decipher and use genes transposed from chromosomes of foreign species, and the shared sequence of embryological development within each phylum would allow the organism to integrate these genes, particularly when the genes affect complex morphological traits. The cross-species gene transfer model could help explain many observations which have puzzled evolutionists, such as rapid bursts in evolution and the widespread occurrence of parallelism in the fossil record.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Genetic Code
  • Paleontology
  • Transformation, Genetic*


  • DNA Transposable Elements