Domains of Life; Prokaryotic vs. Eukaryotic Cells

ID #1511

I'm confused with the concept of horizontal gene transfer so could you explain it one more time?


Simply put, horizontal gene transfer is the sharing of genetic information between two cells.  Often this is between cells of the same species, but it can (and does) also occur across species lines and even across domain lines.  If this shared genetic information provides the recipient cell with an ability or function that it did not previously possess, then the recipient organism has "evolved" differently than if it had acquired that same ability over a much, much longer period of time by alterations in its own genetic material.

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