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Trends Ecol Evol. 1990 Jul;5(7):219-24. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(90)90135-Z.

Nested gene fusions as markers of phylogenetic branchpoints in prokaryotes.

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Roy Jensen and Suhail Ahmad are at the Dept of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


Phylogenetic trees for prokaryotic microorganisms are being assembled at a rapid pace, primarily through sequence comparisons of ribosomal RNA genes. For lineages that diverged from the ancestral stem at nearly the same time, the order of branching may be uncertain. The problem applies both to minor branches that separated very recently and to major branches that diverged long ago. Bifunctional proteins produced by gene fusion provide the clarity of a plus-or-minus character state, and analysis of the distribution of genefusion patterns can reveal the order of phylogenetic branching.

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