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Mark O. Martin

How I loved this article when it came out in Science, and I very much enjoyed this thoughtful review of it, Elio. One of the tough parts for my undergraduates is the concept of just how, well, promiscuous gene transfer is in the microbial world (and apparently not just in that microscopic context, as this article suggests). The species concept as taught---reproductive isolation---becomes a near ossified paradigm in their minds.

Actually, I tell them, for the microbial world, the broadness of gene transfer is similar to having a child by one's Caesar salad. Hmmm.

This article and essay is a great way to remind students whose minds are opening to the Microbial Way that "frequent horizontal gene transfer" is more than four words. And more frequent than we suspect.

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