Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 679045, 9 pages
Review Article

Horizontal Transfer and the Evolution of Host-Pathogen Interactions

1Albacete Science and Technology Park, 02006 Albacete, Spain
2Regional Center for Biomedical Research (CRIB), The University of Castilla-La Mancha, Calle Almansa 14, 02006 Albacete, Spain

Received 3 September 2012; Accepted 26 October 2012

Academic Editor: Stephane Boissinot

Copyright © 2012 Elena de la Casa-Esperón. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Horizontal gene transfer has been long known in viruses and prokaryotes, but its importance in eukaryotes has been only acknowledged recently. Close contact between organisms, as it occurs between pathogens and their hosts, facilitates the occurrence of DNA transfer events. Once inserted in a foreign genome, DNA sequences have sometimes been coopted by pathogens to improve their survival or infectivity, or by hosts to protect themselves against the harm of pathogens. Hence, horizontal transfer constitutes a source of novel sequences that can be adopted to change the host-pathogen interactions. Therefore, horizontal transfer can have an important impact on the coevolution of pathogens and their hosts.