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1 .This is Scientific American 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.

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2 .You can thank your parents for your DNA.

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3 .Because humans share genes through sexual reproduction, passing DNA from parent to child.

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4 .It's known as the 'vertical transfer' of DNA.

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5 .Now imagine if you could share just one or two bits of your DNA with an unrelated stranger, through a handshake, or other incidental contact-and that stranger inserted your DNA into their genome.

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6 .No sex. No offspring either.

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7 .That's called the 'horizontal transfer' of DNA.

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8 .It's obviously not how humans do it.

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9 .But it's a mainstay of single-celled organisms like bacteria, which use the process to share antibiotic resistance genes, for example.

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10 .And now French scientists have found that horizontal DNA transfer could be a lot more common than we thought in multicellular organisms, too-insects, in this case.

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11 .Because by analyzing 195 insect genomes, they found more than 2,200 cases of horizontal DNA transfer between unrelated species of flies and butterflies, beetles and wasps.

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12 .That total quadruples the number of horizontal DNA transfers previously described in all animals, plants and fungi.

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13 .The study is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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14 .How exactly this genetic transfer happens is still a mystery.

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15 .Might be viruses, or parasites, doing the DNA delivery.

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16 .But whatever the cause, it suggests that the evolution of insects, on a molecular level at least, may be something more of a shared success story.

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17 .Thanks for listening, for Scientific American 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.

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