Gene transfer agents: phage-like elements of genetic exchange

  title={Gene transfer agents: phage-like elements of genetic exchange},
  author={Andrew S. Lang and Olga Zhaxybayeva and J. Thomas Beatty},
  journal={Nature Reviews Microbiology},
Horizontal gene transfer is important in the evolution of bacterial and archaeal genomes. An interesting genetic exchange process is carried out by diverse phage-like gene transfer agents (GTAs) that are found in a wide range of prokaryotes. Although GTAs resemble phages, they lack the hallmark capabilities that define typical phages, and they package random pieces of the producing cell's genome. In this Review, we discuss the defining characteristics of the GTAs that have been identified to… CONTINUE READING
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