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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2000 Jun;3(3):270-5.

Bacterial endosymbionts in animals.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, 85721, USA.


Molecular phylogenetic studies reveal that many endosymbioses between bacteria and invertebrate hosts result from ancient infections followed by strict vertical transmission within host lineages. Endosymbionts display a distinctive constellation of genetic properties including AT-biased base composition, accelerated sequence evolution, and, at least sometimes, small genome size; these features suggest increased genetic drift. Molecular genetic characterization also has revealed adaptive, host-beneficial traits such as amplification of genes underlying nutrient provision.

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