Parasite’s Genome discovered inside another’s

University of Rochester Press Releases
Found via Making Light, research at the University of Rochester has shown that the bacterial parasite Wolbachia has managed to transfer its entire genome into members of Drosophila .
Lots of research has to be done, but I consider it amazing that the entire genome of a bacterial parasite has been found in an entirely different species that is in an entirely different kingdom of life, even.
Here’s the money quote that just makes me think of SF ideas:

“Such transfers have happened before in the distant past” notes Werren. “In our very own cells and those of nearly all plants and animals are mitochondria, special structures responsible for generating most of our cells’ supply of chemical energy. These were once bacteria that lived inside cells, much like wolbachia does today. Mitochondria still retain their own, albeit tiny, DNA, and most of the genes moved into the nucleus in the very distant past. Like wolbachia, they have passively exchanged DNA with their host cells. It’s possible wolbachia may follow in the path of mitochondria, eventually becoming a necessary and useful part of a cell.
“In a way, wolbachia could be the next mitochondria,” says Werren. “A hundred million years from now, everyone may have a wolbachia organelle.”