Share this entry

horizontal gene transfer Line breaks: hori|zon¦tal gene trans|fer

Definition of horizontal gene transfer in English:


[mass noun]
The acquisition by an organism of genetic information by transfer, for example via the agency of a virus, from an organism that is not its parent and is typically a member of a different species.
Example sentences
  • For genes that are present in only a few species, it is a priori more difficult to discriminate between horizontal gene transfer to multiple species and extensive loss of the gene in many lineages.
  • Another source of variation in codon usage is horizontal gene transfer, as the transferred genes tend to have a codon usage different from that of the host organism.
  • The past decade has produced an increasing number of reports on horizontal gene transfer between prokaryotic organisms.

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈduːfʌs
a stupid person