Genomic islands are hotspots for horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in bacteria, but, for Prochlorococcus, an abundant marine cyanobacterium, how these islands form has puzzled scientists. With the discovery of tycheposons, a new family of transposons, Hackl et al. provide evidence for elegant new mechanisms of gene rearrangement and transfer among Prochlorococcus and bacteria more broadly.
Keywords: bacteria; genomic island; horizontal gene transfer; oceanography; pangenome; transposon.
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