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Phylogeny and Phylogeography of Rhizobial Symbionts Nodulating Legumes of the Tribe Genisteae
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Genes 2018, 9(7), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9070321

Horizontal Transfer of Symbiosis Genes within and Between Rhizobial Genera: Occurrence and Importance

1
Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Lincoln University, P.O. Box 84, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
2
Centre for Rhizobium Studies, Murdoch University, Murdoch 6150, Australia
3
Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
4
James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK
5
Autonomous Department of Microbial Biology, Faculty of Agriculture and Biology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
6
Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Brasilia DF 70770-917, Brazil
7
Department of Biology, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 May 2018 / Revised: 21 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 27 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of the Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis)
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Abstract

Rhizobial symbiosis genes are often carried on symbiotic islands or plasmids that can be transferred (horizontal transfer) between different bacterial species. Symbiosis genes involved in horizontal transfer have different phylogenies with respect to the core genome of their ‘host’. Here, the literature on legume–rhizobium symbioses in field soils was reviewed, and cases of phylogenetic incongruence between rhizobium core and symbiosis genes were collated. The occurrence and importance of horizontal transfer of rhizobial symbiosis genes within and between bacterial genera were assessed. Horizontal transfer of symbiosis genes between rhizobial strains is of common occurrence, is widespread geographically, is not restricted to specific rhizobial genera, and occurs within and between rhizobial genera. The transfer of symbiosis genes to bacteria adapted to local soil conditions can allow these bacteria to become rhizobial symbionts of previously incompatible legumes growing in these soils. This, in turn, will have consequences for the growth, life history, and biogeography of the legume species involved, which provides a critical ecological link connecting the horizontal transfer of symbiosis genes between rhizobial bacteria in the soil to the above-ground floral biodiversity and vegetation community structure. View Full-Text
Keywords: Fabaceae; lateral gene transfer; legumes; N2 fixation; nodulation; nod genes Fabaceae; lateral gene transfer; legumes; N2 fixation; nodulation; nod genes
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Andrews, M.; De Meyer, S.; James, E.K.; Stępkowski, T.; Hodge, S.; Simon, M.F.; Young, J.P.W. Horizontal Transfer of Symbiosis Genes within and Between Rhizobial Genera: Occurrence and Importance. Genes 2018, 9, 321.

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