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Science. 2004 Dec 10;306(5703):1928-9.

Frequent recombination in a saltern population of Halorubrum.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, 5859 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H7, Canada.


Sex and recombination are driving forces in the evolution of eukaryotes. Homologous recombination is known to be the dominant process in the divergence of many bacterial species. For Archaea, the only direct evidence bearing on the importance or natural occurrence of homologous recombination is anecdotal reports of mosaicism from comparative genomic studies. Genetic studies, however, reveal that recombination may play a significant role in generating diversity among members of at least one archaeal group, the haloarchaea. We used multi-locus sequence typing to demonstrate that haloarchaea exchange genetic information promiscuously, exhibiting a degree of linkage equilibrium approaching that of a sexual population.

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