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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2010 Dec;74(3):485-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00937.x.

The contribution of mobile genetic elements to the evolution and ecology of Vibrios.

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School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.


An increase in the frequency of seafood-borne gastroenteritis in humans and Vibrio-related disease of fish and invertebrates has generated interest in the ecology of disease-causing Vibrios and the mechanisms driving their evolution. Genome sequencing studies have indicated a substantial contribution of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) to the evolution of Vibrios. Of particular interest is the contribution of HGT to the evolution of Vibrios pathogens and the adaptation of disease-causing Vibrios for survival in diverse environments. In this review, we discuss the diversity and distribution of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) isolated from Vibrios and the contribution of these elements to the expansion of the ecological and pathogenic niches of the host strain. Much of the research on Vibrio MGEs has focused on understanding phages and plasmids and we will primarily discuss the evolution of these elements and also briefly highlight the other diverse elements characterized from Vibrios, which includes genomic islands and conjugative elements.

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