Genome-wide Analysis of Cyanobacterial Evolution: The Example of Synechococcus
from: Cyanobacteria: Omics and Manipulation (Edited by: Dmitry A. Los). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2017) Pages: 35-54.
Cyanobacteria are an ancient group of prokaryotes with an immense impact on the evolution of other organisms and the global ecosystem. In this chapter, I will focus on a genetically diverse yet morphologically similar group of cyanobacteria merged under the name Synechococcus. Together with Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus may be the most abundant cyanobacterium and amongst the most ancient organisms on Earth. However, the evolutionary trajectories of Synechococcus are entangled, resulting in polyphyletic relationships based on whole-genome data in phylogenetic reconstruction. Moreover, there is a high variability of the genome composition, size, and complexity within Synechococcus, potentially accounting for and being an example of speciation patterns within cyanobacteria, which may be largely driven by genome alterations (e.g., Horizontal Gene Transfer). In conclusion, I will show that the cyanobacterial evolution is a dynamic process, characterized by drastic genome alterations and gene transfer (both homologous and non-homologous), often resulting in convergent evolutionary patterns as typified by Synechococcus read more ...