Apr 24, 2020

Adaptive evolution of hybrid bacteria by horizontal gene transfer

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
J. J. PowerBerenike Maier


Horizontal gene transfer is an important factor in bacterial evolution that can act across species boundaries. Yet, we know little about rate and genomic targets of cross-lineage gene transfer, and about its effects on the recipient organism's physiology and fitness. Here, we address these questions in a parallel evolution experiment with two Bacillus subtilis lineages of 7% sequence divergence. We observe rapid evolution of hybrid organisms: gene transfer swaps ~12% of the core genome in just 200 generations, and 60% of core genes are replaced in at least one population. By genomics, transcriptomics, fitness assays, and statistical modeling, we show that transfer generates adaptive evolution and functional alterations in hybrids. Specifically, our experiments reveal a strong, repeatable fitness increase of evolved populations in the stationary growth phase. By genomic analysis of the transfer statistics across replicate populations, we infer that selection on HGT has a broad genetic basis: 40% of the observed transfers are adaptive. At the level of functional gene networks, we find signatures of negative and positive selection, consistent with hybrid incompatibilities and adaptive evolution of network functions. Our results su...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Immune Response
Histone antigen
Encoding Mental Process
Enzymes, antithrombotic
Post-Translational Protein Processing
Regulation of Biological Process
Pathogenic Organism

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