Submitted to: Annual Review of Phytopathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Although evidence for horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in eukaryotes has been considered largely anecdotal, literature on HGT in fungi suggests that it may have been more important in the evolution of fungi than in other eukaryotes. Still, HGT in fungi has not been widely accepted because the mechanisms by which it may occur are unknown, because it is usually not directly observed but rather implied as an outcome, and because there are often equally plausible alternative explanations. Despite these reservations, HGT has been justifiably invoked for a variety of sequences including plasmids, introns, transposons, genes, gene clusters and even whole chromosomes. In some instances, HGT has also been confirmed under experimental conditions. It is this ability to address the phenomenon in an experimental setting that makes fungi greatly suited as experimental systems in which to study the mechanisms and consequences of HGT in eukaryote organisms.