Horizontal Gene Transfer in Choanoflagellates

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Abstract

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), also known as lateral gene transfer, results in the rapid acquisition of genes from another organism. HGT has long been known to be a driving force in speciation in prokaryotes, and there is evidence for HGT from symbiotic and infectious bacteria to metazoans, as well as from protists to bacteria. Recently, it has become clear that as many as a 1,000 genes in the genome of the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis may have been acquired by HGT. Interestingly, these genes reportedly come from algae, bacteria, and other choanoflagellate prey. Some of these genes appear to have allowed an ancestral choanoflagellate to exploit nutrient-poor environments and were not passed on to metazoan descendents. However, some of these genes are also found in animal genomes, suggesting that HGT into a common ancestor of choanozoans and animals may have contributed to metazoan evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution
Volume320
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

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