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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10(9), 3836-3860;

Reticulate Evolution and Marine Organisms: The Final Frontier?

Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-4295, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 July 2009 / Accepted: 2 September 2009 / Published: 3 September 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cladistic Analysis and Molecular Evolution)
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The role that reticulate evolution (i.e., via lateral transfer, viral recombination and/or introgressive hybridization) has played in the origin and adaptation of individual taxa and even entire clades continues to be tested for all domains of life. Though falsified for some groups, the hypothesis of divergence in the face of gene flow is becoming accepted as a major facilitator of evolutionary change for many microorganisms, plants and animals. Yet, the effect of reticulate evolutionary change in certain assemblages has been doubted, either due to an actual dearth of genetic exchange among the lineages belonging to these clades or because of a lack of appropriate data to test alternative hypotheses. Marine organisms represent such an assemblage. In the past half-century, some evolutionary biologists interested in the origin and trajectory of marine organisms, particularly animals, have posited that horizontal transfer, introgression and hybrid speciation have been rare. In this review, we provide examples of such genetic exchange that have come to light largely as a result of analyses of molecular markers. Comparisons among these markers and between these loci and morphological characters have provided numerous examples of marine microorganisms, plants and animals that possess the signature of mosaic genomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: introgression; horizontal transfer; web of life; marine introgression; horizontal transfer; web of life; marine
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Arnold, M.L.; Fogarty, N.D. Reticulate Evolution and Marine Organisms: The Final Frontier? Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10, 3836-3860.

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