Mix and Match in the Tree of Life

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Science  26 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5410, pp. 2027-2028
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5410.2027

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Genes for ribosomal RNA have been used to decipher the evolutionary relationship between eukaryotes and prokaryotes. However, as Lake and colleagues point out in their Perspective, the availability of complete genome sequences for many bacteria (prokaryotes) and for the yeast (a eukaryote) has called into question long-held views about the evolutionary tree of life. The Perspective discusses the emerging notion of chimerism in prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes, which arises through transfer of groups of functionally similar genes between organisms.