Genetic exchange and evolutionary divergence in prokaryotes

Trends Ecol Evol. 1994 May;9(5):175-80. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(94)90081-7. Epub 2003 Nov 7.


Recent work shows that genetic exchange in prokaryotes is less frequent but more promiscuous than that in eukaryotes. As a result, genetic exchange plays very different roles in determining the patterns of evolutionary divergence in these major groups. Because sexual isolation is not a prerequisite for divergence in the prokaryotic world, the biological species concept is not appropriate for bacteria. However, there is a species concept that may apply universally.