Bacteria able to integrate ancient, damaged DNA into their genome

Bacteria are known to take in long fragments of DNA, discarded by the dead cells of other organisms, and incorporate them into their own genomes. Results published November 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that bacteria can also integrate short and damaged stretches of DNA, even 43,000-year-old fragments extracted from a woolly mammoth bone.

Short, degraded DNA is abundant in the environment, “and if that can be used for transformation or mutagenesis, that suggests it has a much larger evolution-driving role than previously ever realized,” said Hank Seifert, a microbiologist at Northwestern University who was not involved in the study.

Read the full, original story here: Bacteria Can Integrate Degraded DNA

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