Artificial Gene Transfer

The inheritance of particular characteristics results from the transmission of associated genes from one generation to the next

  • As this transmission requires reproduction by the organism/s and occurs across generations it is called vertical gene transfer
  • Typically, the only way for most organisms to develop particular genetic traits is via inheriting them from their parents

Bacteria can transfer genes between organisms within a generation via the exchange of plasmids by bacterial conjugation

  • This transmission is called horizontal gene transfer as it occurs within a single generation

Humans have adapted the process by extracting plasmids from bacteria and using them as a vector to deliver genes of interest

  • This has allowed humans to transfer genes not only within generations, but between separate species
  • This form of evolutionary modification is a type of artificial selection as it occurs as a direct result of human intervention

Vertical vs Horizontal Gene Transfer

horizontal gene transfer