Parts of us may never die – not quite, anyway. Lab tests involving microbes and a mammoth bone have shown that bacteria can passively soak up the genetic remains of long-dead organisms from the environment and add them to their own genomes.
This ability is a previously ignored mechanism of evolution, says Søren Overballe-Petersen of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. It joins sex, where two organisms combine their genes by mating; random DNA mutation; and the active transfer of genes between live microbes.
Read the full, original story here: DNA-grabbing bacteria hint at early phase of evolution