Rice University study models "Horizontal Gene Transfer," a mechanism for evolution where big chunks of DNA migrate between different species via bacteria. This results in faster and more sudden evolutionary branching than what you get with the more familiar mechanisms of sexual selection or random single-point mutations caused by radiation, copying errors, etc.
Now I feel better about eating those tomatoes with the fish genes in them! (Flavr Savr)
I'm not sure who Paul is, but he gets Horizontal Gene Transfer totally wrong. Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) (sometimes "Lateral Gene Transfer") is predominantly an event that occurs between two prokaryotic (read: bacteria) cells. Although there is evidence for some unicellular eukaryotic HGT, multicellular HGT has yet to be observed. Bottom line, Horizontal Gene Transfer does "speed up" evolution (and at the same time, totally complicates the analysis of bacterial genomes), and it does explain some evolutionary "jumps," but it doesn't explain all of them, and certainly not ones in multicellular eukaryotes.
Also, FlavrSavr tomatoes did not have fish genes in them. In fact, no tomato that has ever reached the market has had fish genes in them. The Flavr Savr tomato contained an antisense gene for polygalacturonase. That is, it shut down the gene expression of polygalacturonase. Polygalacturonase is a pectinase which breaks down pectin. When pectin is broken down, the cell walls get mushier and the fruit gets softer. That is, it's part of the ripening process.
Furthermore, Flavr Savr tomatoes are no longer for sale in the United States and their trademark has expired.
Horizontal gene transfer transgenic GMO flavr savr boingboing pectin GMOs evolution phylogeny