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Genes Lost and Genes Found: Evolution of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Symbiosis

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Science  11 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5519, pp. 1096-1099
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058543

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Traditionally, evolutionary biologists have viewed mutations within individual genes as the major source of phenotypic variation leading to adaptation through natural selection, and ultimately generating diversity among species. Although such processes must contribute to the initial development of gene functions and their subsequent fine-tuning, changes in genome repertoire, occurring through gene acquisition and deletion, are the major events underlying the emergence and evolution of bacterial pathogens and symbionts. Furthermore, pathogens and symbionts depend on similar mechanisms for interacting with hosts and show parallel trends in genome evolution.

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