Microbial Evolution: Taking a Dip in the Mobile Gene Pool - Mike Brockhurst (University of Sheffield)

4:00pm - 5:00pm / Tuesday 6th March 2018 / Venue: Lecture Theatre 1 Life Sciences Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: BEEM Seminar
  • Suitable for: Staff/students with an interest in Behaviour, Evolution, Ecology and Microbiology
  • Admission: Free
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Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) allows evolution to proceed by adaptive leaps via gain of new functional traits, such as antibiotic resistance. Bacterial comparative genomics reveals extensive horizontal gene transfer facilitated by mobile genetic elements (MGE) but little is known about how the ecology of microbial communities and their environments affects HGT dynamics. Moreover, intragenomic conflict between MGEs and their bacterial hosts is common and impedes HGT. I will present data from experimental evolution showing that gene mobilisation and transfer is most likely when the MGE is useless, and that conflicts between chromosomes and MGEs can be rapidly resolved by compensatory evolution to ameliorate the cost of the MGE allowing its survival.