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We used a phylogenetic approach to analyze the evolution of methanogenesis and methanogens. We show that 23 vertically transmitted ribosomal proteins do not support the monophyly of methanogens, and propose instead that there are two distantly related groups of extant archaea that produce methane, which we have named Class I and Class II. Based on this(More)
Owing to the exponential growth of genome databases, phylogenetic trees are now widely used to test a variety of evolutionary hypotheses. Nevertheless, computation time burden limits the application of methods such as maximum likelihood nonparametric bootstrap to assess reliability of evolutionary trees. As an alternative, the much faster Bayesian inference(More)
A characteristic feature of the domain archaea are the lipids forming the hydrophobic core of their cell membrane. These unique lipids are composed of isoprenoid side-chains stereospecifically ether linked to sn-glycerol-1-phosphate. Recently, considerable progress has been made in characterizing the enzymes responsible for the synthesis of archaeal lipids.(More)
BACKGROUND The concept of a tree of life is prevalent in the evolutionary literature. It stems from attempting to obtain a grand unified natural system that reflects a recurrent process of species and lineage splittings for all forms of life. Traditionally, the discipline of systematics operates in a similar hierarchy of bifurcating (sometimes(More)
Although animal-associated microbial communities (microbiomes) are increasingly recognized to influence health, the extent to which animals represent highly selective habitats for microbes leading to predominance of high host specificity remains poorly understood. Here, we show that vibrios, which are well-known commensals and opportunistic pathogens of(More)
The integron/gene cassette systems identified in bacteria comprise a class of genetic elements that allow adaptation by acquisition of gene cassettes. Integron gene cassettes have been shown to facilitate the spread of drug resistance in human pathogens but their role outside a clinical setting has not been explored extensively. We sequenced 2145 integron(More)
Lateral gene transfer (LGT) is now known to be a major force in the evolution of prokaryotic genomes. To date, most analyses have focused on either (a) verifying phylogenies of individual genes thought to have been transferred, or (b) estimating the fraction of individual genomes likely to have been introduced by transfer. Neither approach does justice to(More)
Several characteristics of the 16S rRNA gene, such as its essential function, ubiquity, and evolutionary properties, have allowed it to become the most commonly used molecular marker in microbial ecology. However, one fact that has been overlooked is that multiple copies of this gene are often present in a given bacterium. These intragenomic copies can(More)
Lateral gene transfer (LGT) is a major force in microbial genome evolution. Here, we present an overview of lateral transfers affecting genes involved in isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) synthesis. Two alternative metabolic pathways can synthesize this universal precursor of isoprenoids, the 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate (DOXP) pathway and the mevalonate(More)
We have now complete genome sequences of several pairs of closely related prokaryotes (conspecific strains or congeneric species). Surprisingly, even strains of the same species can differ by as much as 20% in gene content. Conceptual and methodological approaches for dealing with such diversity are now being developed, and should transform microbial(More)