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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jun 28;108 Suppl 2:10800-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100304108. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Evolutionary transitions in bacterial symbiosis.

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Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


Diverse bacterial lineages form beneficial infections with eukaryotic hosts. The origins, evolution, and breakdown of these mutualisms represent important evolutionary transitions. To examine these key events, we synthesize data from diverse interactions between bacteria and eukaryote hosts. Five evolutionary transitions are investigated, including the origins of bacterial associations with eukaryotes, the origins and subsequent stable maintenance of bacterial mutualism with hosts, the capture of beneficial symbionts via the evolution of strict vertical transmission within host lineages, and the evolutionary breakdown of bacterial mutualism. Each of these transitions has occurred many times in the history of bacterial-eukaryote symbiosis. We investigate these evolutionary events across the bacterial domain and also among a focal set of well studied bacterial mutualist lineages. Subsequently, we generate a framework for examining evolutionary transitions in bacterial symbiosis and test hypotheses about the selective, ecological, and genomic forces that shape these events.

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