We are thrilled to congratulate our colleague Ford Doolittle for this exceptional achievement. Ford is one of the pioneers in microbial evolutionary genetics, well known for his contributions to discover and understand the importance of lateral gene transfer (LGT or HGT) in evolution. Ford coined the expression “You are what you eat” to reflect that the nature of an organism is shaped both by its deep inheritance (the genes passed from its ancient ancestors) but also by genes acquired from diverse sources along its evolutionary history. By thinking deep on this concept, Ford has brought about drastic changes in the way we perceive the deep evolutionary relationships among microbes.
Doolittle WF (1998) You are what you eat: a gene transfer ratchet could account for bacterial genes in eukaryotic nuclear genomes. Trends Genet 14(8):307–311