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Whole-Genome Analysis of Photosynthetic Prokaryotes

Science  22 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5598, pp. 1616-1620
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075558

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Abstract

The process of photosynthesis has had profound global-scale effects on Earth; however, its origin and evolution remain enigmatic. Here we report a whole-genome comparison of representatives from all five groups of photosynthetic prokaryotes and show that horizontal gene transfer has been pivotal in their evolution. Excluding a small number of orthologs that show congruent phylogenies, the genomes of these organisms represent mosaics of genes with very different evolutionary histories. We have also analyzed a subset of “photosynthesis-specific” genes that were elucidated through a differential genome comparison. Our results explain incoherencies in previous data-limited phylogenetic analyses of phototrophic bacteria and indicate that the core components of photosynthesis have been subject to lateral transfer.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this paper.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: blankenship{at}asu.edu

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