Cells of Haloferax mediterranei and cells of the related species Haloferax volcanii can undergo a process of genetic exchange between two cells of the same species which involves cell fusion resulting in a heterodiploid cell (containing two different chromosomes in one cell). Although this genetic exchange ordinarily occurs between two cells of the same species, it can also occur at a lower frequency between an H. mediterranei and an H. volcani cell. These two species have an average nucleotide sequence identity of 86.6%. During this exchange process a diploid cell is formed that contains the full genetic repertoire of both parental cells, and genetic recombination is facilitated. Subsequently, the cells separate, giving rise to recombinant cells.
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