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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 4;102(40):14332-7. Epub 2005 Sep 21.

Highways of gene sharing in prokaryotes.

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  • 1Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Australian Research Council Centre in Bioinformatics, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Australia.


The extent to which lateral genetic transfer has shaped microbial genomes has major implications for the emergence of community structures. We have performed a rigorous phylogenetic analysis of >220,000 proteins from genomes of 144 prokaryotes to determine the contribution of gene sharing to current prokaryotic diversity, and to identify "highways" of sharing between lineages. The inferred relationships suggest a pattern of inheritance that is largely vertical, but with notable exceptions among closely related taxa, and among distantly related organisms that live in similar environments.

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