- Ancestral gene transfer. Organisms inherit their genes from their ancestors. This is the most commonly used theory of gene transfer for evolution.
- Lateral gene transfer. This is when genes “jump” across completely different organisms that live at the same time (“transposition”). This is used when traditional ancestral gene transfer does not work, as in early life. 1
These two inconsistent methods can explain any evidence. When the data does not fit a tree, lateral gene transfer can be used; when it does, ancestral gene transfer is used. Thus, evolution is plastic and moldable, the opposite of a robust, simple, clean scientific theory.
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Palmer, D. (2011). Earth in 100 Groundbreaking Discoveries. Buffalo, N.Y.: Firefly Books.
- Palmer, 2011, p. 119: “What’s more, there may well have been extensive ‘lateral gene transfer’ among early life forms. This process, in which one organism incorporates DNA from another that is not its parent, is relatively common among microorganisms, especially Bacteria and Archaea, and may have played a major role in the development of the complex eukaryotic cell, but it also ‘blurs the edges’ between different groups of organism, and confuses the question of ancestry still further.” ↩