1 Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark 2 Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark 3 Comparative Microbial Genomics, Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark 4 Universidad Miguel Hernandez 5 Universidad Miguel Hernandez
The comparative genomics of prokaryotes has shown the presence of conserved regions containing highly similar genes (the 'core genome') and other regions that vary in gene content (the 'flexible' regions). A significant part of the latter is involved in surface structures that are phage recognition targets. Another sizeable part provides for differences in niche exploitation. Metagenomic data indicates that natural populations of prokaryotes are composed of assemblages of clonal lineages or "meta-clones" that share a core of genes but contain a high diversity by varying the flexible component. This meta-clonal diversity is maintained by a collection of phages that equalize the populations by preventing any individual clonal lineage from hoarding common resources. Thus, this polyclonal assemblage and the phages preying upon them constitute natural selection units. © 2012 Rodriguez-Valera F et al.
F1000research, 2012, Vol 1, Issue 16
article; bacterial genome; bacteriophage; bacterium; cell surface; clonal variation; gene targeting; genetic conservation; genetic selection; genomics; metagenomics; nonhuman; pan genomic; pan selectome; Pelagibacter ubique; Prochlorococcus; prokaryote; Synechococcus
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