Archaea are diverse, ecologically important, single-celled microorganisms. They have unique functions and features, such as methanogenesis and the composition of their cell envelope, although many characteristics are shared with the other domains of life, either through ancestry or through promiscuous horizontal gene transfer. The exchange of genetic material is a major driving force for genome evolution across the tree of life and has a role in archaeal speciation, adaptation and maintenance of diversity. In this Review, we discuss our current knowledge of archaeal mechanisms of DNA transfer and highlight the role of gene transfer in archaeal evolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Infectious Diseases