DNA-swapping microbes thrive in salty Antarctic lake

09/30/2013 | LiveScience.com

Haloarchaea, single-celled organisms that thrive in the harsh environs of Antarctica's salty Deep Lake, swap DNA to help them live in their extreme habitat, according to a study. "Our research shows these [haloarchaea] swap much more genetic material with each other than has been observed in the natural environment before. ... Despite this rampant gene swapping, the different species are maintained and can co-exist because they have evolved to exploit different niches and consume different food sources," said microbiologist Rick Cavicchioli of the University of New South Wales, who led the study.

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