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Human beings’ ancestors have routinely stolen genes from other species
OPPONENTS of genetically modified crops often complain that moving genes between species is unnatural. Leaving aside the fact that the whole of agriculture is unnatural, this is still an odd worry. It has been known for a while that some genes move from one species to another given the chance, in a process called horizontal gene transfer. Genes for antibiotic resistance, for example, swap freely between species of bacteria. Only recently, though, has it become clear just how widespread such natural transgenics is. What was once regarded as a peculiarity of lesser organisms has now been found to be true in human beings, too. /.../