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Re: Mice given bat-like forelimbs through gene switch



Retroviruses are be able to combine the DNA of different species. In fact,
endogenous retrovirus sequences have become a permanent part of the human
genome. Up to 8% of our genes once belonged to other species.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endogenous_retrovirus

If you count all the retrotransposons and the formerly transposable elements (like LINEs and SINEs) as retrovirus material, over half (53 % or so) of our genome consists of retrovirus corpses in various stages of decay...


Bacteria are able to exchange gene sequences not just between different members
of the same species, but between different bacterial species.

Not only. Don't you remember the famous photo of a hamster cell and two bacterial cells doing it?


That must be why vertebrates share some genes with bacteria but with nothing else... and why the bacterium *Mycoplasma genitalium* contains genes for the synthesis of cholesterol, something otherwise limited to eukaryotes... never mind all the genes spread across (hyper)thermophilic bacteria and archaea alike...

In fact, what is a bacterial "species" or an archaeal "one"? Most species concepts are simply not applicable, and the rest needs arbitrary cutoff points (% similarity in genome sequence, % similarity in AT content). It would make a lot more sense to just talk about clades.