The recent literature on whole genome sequences provides abundant
evidence for the action of natural genetic engineering in
evolution. Discoveries about natural genetic engineering have
coincided with rapid progress in our understanding of epigenetic
control and RNA-directed chromatin formation. Special attention
needs to be paid to the role of viruses and related so-called
"parasitic" elements in the origin of genome formatting and natural
genetic engineering capabilities especially the role of non-random
genetic change operators in the production of complex evolutionary
inventions. These Proceedings of the Symposium “Natural
Genetic Engineering and Natural Genome Editing” (3-6 July
2008, Salzburg, Austria) assemble scientists working on genome
organization, genome restructuring, genome formatting and virus
research to discuss how to integrate these discoveries into the
basic understanding of evolution, development and disease.
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