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Great article -- really fascinating, especially the prevalence of shared genes among seemingly distant relatives. I'm curious -- is direction of transfer easily inferred? e.g. from Dictyostelium to the Nanoarchaeon?

Merry replies: Easily? Maybe. Sometimes. If the transfer is recent, the transferred genes will still display the codon usage and GC pattern of the source genome which could be distinctly different from that in the recipient. Another tactic would be to look for the genes in relatives of the putative source and recipient organisms. One would predict that the transferred genes would be widely distributed through the source genus or family or even a higher taxonomic grouping, but limited to one recipient and its close relatives. There likely are other ways one could use....but those two come to mind first.

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