It is unlikely that the established genomes of present day
organisms remain stable forever. It is conceivable that foreign DNA
can gain entry into individual cells of an organism.
Foreign DNA is defined as genetic material that derives from
another organism of the same or a different species. The natural
environment is heavily "contaminated" with such foreign DNA, and
mammals, like other organisms, are frequently exposed to foreign
DNA in their environment, notably by ingesting their daily food
supply. By necessity, the gastrointestinal tract also of all
mammalian organisms is constantly in contact with foreign DNA. So
far, next to nothing is known about defense mechanisms in mammals
against the intrusion of foreign DNA. At least in cells growing in
culture, the uptake and genomic fixation by integration of foreign
DNA can readily be demonstrated.
For a number of reasons, the author has considered it important to
investigate the phenomena and mechanisms involved in the
interaction of foreign DNA with mammalian cells and organisms in
Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH
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