Patterns of Horizontal Gene Transfer in Bacteria
Weilong Hao and G. Brian Golding
from: Microbial Population Genetics (Edited by: Jianping Xu). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2010)
Horizontal gene transfer, as a major force in shaping bacterial gene content, has gained incredible attention over the last decade. Along with the fast growing bacterial genome sequence data, there have been an increasingly large number of studies focused on horizontal gene transfer. The studies have been gradually transformed from identifying individual genes that have been horizontally transferred to assessing the general patterns of horizontal gene transfer and evaluating the systematic consequences of massive gene transfers. The rates of gene transfers have been measured by various methods such as parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Different phylogenetic methods were applied to a variety of data sets to assess whether there exists a congruent and meaningful bacterial tree. Even though some consensus has been reached, many contradictions have emerged and need to be solved in future studies. Our goal here is to review recent studies on this subject with an emphasis on the emerging patterns in horizontal gene transfer research read more ...