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Mol Biol Evol. 1994 Nov;11(6):829-38.

Evidence for effect of random genetic drift on G+C content after lateral transfer of fucose pathway genes to Escherichia coli K-12.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Sydney, N.S.W., Australia.


The cps cluster of Escherichia coli K-12 comprises genes involved in synthesis of capsular polysaccharide colanic acid. Part of the E. coli K-12 cps region has been cloned and sequenced and compared to its Salmonella enterica LT2 counterpart. The cps genes from the two organisms are homologous; in the case of the LT2 genes, with G+C content of 0.61 and codons characteristic of high G+C species, it seems clear that they have been acquired relatively recently by lateral transfer from a high G+C species. The K-12 form of these cps genes is closely related to those of LT2 so must derive from the same high G+C species, but it appears to have transferred much earlier such that random genetic drift has brought P3 (the corrected G+C content of codon base 3) down from 0.77 to 0.64, more than halfway to the E. coli average of 0.57. We estimate, using an equation developed by Sueoka, that the lateral transfer to E. coli took place approximately 45 million years ago. This is the first report we are aware of demonstrating the expected adjustment of P3 after lateral transfer between species with different G+C content DNA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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