Steady at the wheel: conservative sex and the benefits of bacterial transformation

Ambur, Ole Herman, Engelstaedter, Jan, Johnsen, Pal J., Miller, Eric L. and Rozen, Daniel E. (2016) Steady at the wheel: conservative sex and the benefits of bacterial transformation. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 371 1706: . doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0528

Author Ambur, Ole Herman
Engelstaedter, Jan
Johnsen, Pal J.
Miller, Eric L.
Rozen, Daniel E.
Title Steady at the wheel: conservative sex and the benefits of bacterial transformation
Journal name Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2970
Publication date 2016-10-19
Year available 2016
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1098/rstb.2015.0528
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 371
Issue 1706
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract Many bacteria are highly sexual, but the reasons for their promiscuity remain obscure. Did bacterial sex evolve to maximize diversity and facilitate adaptation in a changing world, or does it instead help to retain the bacterial functions that work right now? In other words, is bacterial sex innovative or conservative? Our aim in this review is to integrate experimental, bioinformatic and theoretical studies to critically evaluate these alternatives, with a main focus on natural genetic transformation, the bacterial equivalent of eukaryotic sexual reproduction. First, we provide a general overview of several hypotheses that have been put forward to explain the evolution of transformation. Next, we synthesize a large body of evidence highlighting the numerous passive and active barriers to transformation that have evolved to protect bacteria from foreign DNA, thereby increasing the likelihood that transformation takes place among clonemates. Our critical review of the existing literature provides support for the view that bacterial transformation is maintained as a means of genomic conservation that provides direct benefits to both individual bacterial cells and to transformable bacterial populations. We examine the generality of this view across bacteria and contrast this explanation with the different evolutionary roles proposed to maintain sex in eukaryotes.
Keyword Bacterial sex
Natural competence
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID FT140100907
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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