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Genes 2011, 2(4), 804-828; doi:10.3390/genes2040804

Ecological and Temporal Constraints in the Evolution of Bacterial Genomes

1,*  and 2
1 Dpto Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva. Museo Nacional Ciencias Naturales. CSIC. C/JoseGutierrez Abascal 2. Madrid 28006, Spain 2 Dpto. Biotecnología Microbiana. Centro Nacional de Biotecnología. (CNB-CSIC). Darwin 3. Madrid 28049, Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 September 2011 / Revised: 10 October 2011 / Accepted: 24 October 2011 / Published: 31 October 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Genomes and Their Evolution)
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Studies on the experimental evolution of microorganisms, on their in vivo evolution (mainly in the case of bacteria producing chronic infections), as well as the availability of multiple full genomic sequences, are placing bacteria in the playground of evolutionary studies. In the present article we review the differential contribution to the evolution of bacterial genomes that processes such as gene modification, gene acquisition and gene loss may have when bacteria colonize different habitats that present characteristic ecological features. In particular, we review how the different processes contribute to evolution in microbial communities, in free-living bacteria or in bacteria living in isolation. In addition, we discuss the temporal constraints in the evolution of bacterial genomes, considering bacterial evolution from the perspective of processes of short-sighted evolution and punctual acquisition of evolutionary novelties followed by long stasis periods.
Keywords: bacteria; evolution; genomes; ecological constraints; horizontal gene transfer; endosymbiosis bacteria; evolution; genomes; ecological constraints; horizontal gene transfer; endosymbiosis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Boto, L.; Martínez, J.L. Ecological and Temporal Constraints in the Evolution of Bacterial Genomes. Genes 2011, 2, 804-828.

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