Jan 15, 2016

How clonal are bacteria over time?

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
B Jesse Shapiro


Bacteria and archaea reproduce clonally (vertically), but exchange genes by recombination (horizontal transfer). Recombination allows adaptive mutations or genes to spread within (or between) species. Clonality - the balance between vertical and horizontal inheritance - is therefore a key microbial trait, determining how quickly a population can adapt. Here, I consider whether clonality can be considered a stable trait of a given population. In some cases, clonality changes over time: non-clonal (recombining) populations can give rise to clonal expansions. However, an analysis of time-course metagenomic data suggests that a bacterial population's past clonality is indicative of its future clonality. Thus, a population's evolutionary potential - whether it is likely to retain genetic diversity or not - can in principle be predicted from its past.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Recombination, Genetic
Genetic Inheritance
Cell Growth

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