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Genetics. Jun 1993; 134(2): 401–408.
PMCID: PMC1205484

The Effect of DNA Sequence Divergence on Sexual Isolation in Bacillus

Abstract

We have investigated the relationship between sexual isolation and DNA sequence divergence in the transformation (at locus rpoB) of a naturally competent strain of Bacillus subtilis. Using both genomic DNA and a PCR-amplified segment of gene rpoB as donor, we found that the extent of sexual isolation at locus rpoB was closely predicted, over three orders of magnitude, as a log-linear function of sequence divergence at that locus. Because sexual isolation between a recipient and any potential donor may be determined as a general mathematical function of sequence divergence, transformation is perhaps the only sexual system, in either the prokaryotic or the eukaryotic world, in which sexual isolation can be predicted for a pair of species without having to perform the cross. These observations suggest the possibility of a general approach to the indirect prediction of sexual isolation in bacteria recombining principally by natural transformation.

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Selected References

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