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BMC Evol Biol. 2007 Sep 25;7:173.

Horizontal gene transfer in chromalveolates.

Author information

  • 1University of Iowa, Department of Biological Sciences and the Roy J, Carver Center for Comparative Genomics, 446 Biology Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA. tetyana-nosenko@uiowa.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), the non-genealogical transfer of genetic material between different organisms, is considered a potentially important mechanism of genome evolution in eukaryotes. Using phylogenomic analyses of expressed sequence tag (EST) data generated from a clonal cell line of a free living dinoflagellate alga Karenia brevis, we investigated the impact of HGT on genome evolution in unicellular chromalveolate protists.

RESULTS:

We identified 16 proteins that have originated in chromalveolates through ancient HGTs before the divergence of the genera Karenia and Karlodinium and one protein that was derived through a more recent HGT. Detailed analysis of the phylogeny and distribution of identified proteins demonstrates that eight have resulted from independent HGTs in several eukaryotic lineages.

CONCLUSION:

Recurring intra- and interdomain gene exchange provides an important source of genetic novelty not only in parasitic taxa as previously demonstrated but as we show here, also in free-living protists. Investigating the tempo and mode of evolution of horizontally transferred genes in protists will therefore advance our understanding of mechanisms of adaptation in eukaryotes.

PMID:
17894863
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2064935
Free PMC Article

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