Highways of gene sharing in prokaryotes

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 4;102(40):14332-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0504068102. Epub 2005 Sep 21.


The extent to which lateral genetic transfer has shaped microbial genomes has major implications for the emergence of community structures. We have performed a rigorous phylogenetic analysis of >220,000 proteins from genomes of 144 prokaryotes to determine the contribution of gene sharing to current prokaryotic diversity, and to identify "highways" of sharing between lineages. The inferred relationships suggest a pattern of inheritance that is largely vertical, but with notable exceptions among closely related taxa, and among distantly related organisms that live in similar environments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Archaeal / genetics*
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phylogeny*
  • Prokaryotic Cells*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Bacterial Proteins