We have identified Streptomyces
sister-taxa which share a recent common ancestor and nearly identical small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene sequences, but inhabit distinct geographic ranges demarcated by latitude and have sufficient genomic divergence to represent distinct species. Here, we explore the evolutionary dynamics of secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters (SMGCs) following lineage divergence of these sister-taxa. These sister-taxa strains contained 310 distinct SMGCs belonging to 22 different gene cluster classes. While there was broad conservation of these 22 gene cluster classes among the genomes analyzed, each individual genome harbored a different number of gene clusters within each class. A total of nine SMGCs were conserved across nearly all strains, but the majority (57%) of SMGCs were strain-specific. We show that while each individual genome has a unique combination of SMGCs, this diversity displays lineage-level modularity. Overall, the northern-derived (NDR) clade had more SMGCs than the southern-derived (SDR) clade (40.7 ± 3.9 and 33.8 ± 3.9, mean and S.D., respectively). This difference in SMGC content corresponded with differences in the number of predicted open reading frames (ORFs) per genome (7775 ± 196 and 7093 ± 205, mean and S.D., respectively) such that the ratio of SMGC:ORF did not differ between sister-taxa genomes. We show that changes in SMGC diversity between the sister-taxa were driven primarily by gene acquisition and deletion events, and these changes were associated with an overall change in genome size which accompanied lineage divergence.
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