Horizontal gene transfer: building the web of life

  title={Horizontal gene transfer: building the web of life},
  author={Shannon M. Soucy and Jinling Huang and Johann Peter Gogarten},
  journal={Nature Reviews Genetics},
Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is the sharing of genetic material between organisms that are not in a parent–offspring relationship. HGT is a widely recognized mechanism for adaptation in bacteria and archaea. Microbial antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity are often associated with HGT, but the scope of HGT extends far beyond disease-causing organisms. In this Review, we describe how HGT has shaped the web of life using examples of HGT among prokaryotes, between prokaryotes and eukaryotes… 
Horizontal Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes: Not if, but How Much?
Horizontal gene transfer: Its impacts and influences
The current review has highlighted about the different types of horizontal gene transfer, factors affecting the HGT its benefits and its impact on nutritional value.
Systematic Search for Evidence of Interdomain Horizontal Gene Transfer from Prokaryotes to Oomycete Lineages
Systematic analysis of the genomes of the oomycetes, filamentous eukaryotic microorganisms in the Stramenopiles-Alveolates-Rhizaria (SAR) supergroup, and bacterium-inherited genes in Pythium and Phytopythium species adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that interdomain transfer from prokaryotes into eukaries occurs more frequently than previously thought.
Horizontal gene transfer is more frequent with increased heterotrophy and contributes to parasite adaptation
HGT-acquired genes are preferentially expressed in the haustorium—the organ of parasitic plants—and are strongly biased in predicted gene functions, suggesting that expression products of horizontally acquired genes are contributing to the unique adaptive feeding structure of parasitic Plants.
Functional horizontal gene transfer from bacteria to eukaryotes
This Review focuses on gene transfers from bacteria to eukaryotes, discusses how horizontally transferred genes become functional and explores what functions are endowed upon a broad diversity of eukARYotes by genes derived from bacteria.
On the evolutionary significance of horizontal gene transfers in plants.
Several recent studies that have found evidence of the horizontal transfer of nuclear genes, and it is argued that HGT has undoubtedly had profound impacts on plant evolution as a whole.
Sampling the mobile gene pool: innovation via horizontal gene transfer in bacteria
The ecological conditions that favour the spread of traits by HGT, the evolutionary and social consequences of sharing traits, and how HGT is shaped by inherent conflicts between bacteria and MGEs are discussed.
Genome-wide determination of barriers to horizontal gene transfer
A genome wide analysis of transferability data obtained from 74 genomes is used to provide the first experimental evidence that this pattern results from differences between informational and operational genes in the number of other proteins with which they interact, rather than from their functional differences.


Biased gene transfer in microbial evolution
There is evidence that prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) are more likely to transfer genetic material with their close relatives than with distantly related lineages, which can create phylogenetic signals that are difficult to distinguish from the signal created through shared ancestry.
Horizontal gene transfer facilitated the evolution of plant parasitic mechanisms in the oomycetes
Using whole-genome, gene-by-gene phylogenetic analysis, an extensive pattern of cross-kingdom HGT between fungi and oomycetes is demonstrated, consistent with the hypothesis that some oomyCetes became successful plant parasites by multiple acquisitions of genes from fungi.
Horizontal gene transfer, genome innovation and evolution
It is suggested that for many prokaryotes, the boundaries between species are fuzzy, and therefore the principles of population genetics must be broadened so that they can be applied to higher taxonomic categories.
Horizontal gene transfer in the acquisition of novel traits by metazoans
  • L. Boto
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2014
Suspected examples in sponges, cnidarians, rotifers, nematodes, molluscs and arthropods suggest that horizontal gene transfer in metazoans is not simply a curiosity, and the scarcity of studies in vertebrates and other animal groups is stressed.
Ecology drives a global network of gene exchange connecting the human microbiome
A vast, human-associated network of gene exchange, large enough to directly compare the principal forces shaping HGT is reported, which offers a window into the molecular traits that define ecological niches and insight that is used to uncover sources of antibiotic resistance and identify genes associated with the pathology of meningitis and other diseases.
Gene transfer and diversification of microbial eukaryotes.
The role of gene transfer in the diversification process of microbial eukaryotes currently is underestimated and Rigorous systematic studies of gene acquisitions that allow for the possibility of exchanges of all categories of genes from all sources are needed.
Conjugative plasmids: vessels of the communal gene pool
The term supergenome is used to describe the set of all genes that a prokaryotic ‘individual’ can draw on within a particular environmental setting to obtain adaptability and functional diversity that alleviates the need for large genomes of specialized ‘private genes’.
Horizontal Transfer, Not Duplication, Drives the Expansion of Protein Families in Prokaryotes
It is shown that paralogs share most protein–protein interactions and genetic regulators, whereas xenologs share very few of them, which suggests that gene transfer and gene duplication have very different roles in shaping the evolution of biological systems.
Expression of multiple horizontally acquired genes is a hallmark of both vertebrate and invertebrate genomes
It is argued that HGT has occurred, and continues to occur, on a previously unsuspected scale in metazoans and is likely to have contributed to biochemical diversification during animal evolution.