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Lateral gene transfer and the nature of bacterial innovation

Abstract

Unlike eukaryotes, which evolve principally through the modification of existing genetic information, bacteria have obtained a significant proportion of their genetic diversity through the acquisition of sequences from distantly related organisms. Horizontal gene transfer produces extremely dynamic genomes in which substantial amounts of DNA are introduced into and deleted from the chromosome. These lateral transfers have effectively changed the ecological and pathogenic character of bacterial species.

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Figure 1: Evolutionary relationships and phenotypic profiles of representative enteric bacteria.
Figure 2: Distribution of horizontally acquired (foreign) DNA in sequenced bacterial genomes.
Figure 3: Gene capture and expression by integrons.
Figure 4: Succession of genetic events contributing to virulence in Shigella .

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Ochman, H., Lawrence, J. & Groisman, E. Lateral gene transfer and the nature of bacterial innovation. Nature 405, 299–304 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/35012500

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