Data reflecting evolutionary changes in chromosomal gene order can be used for phylogenetic reconstructions along with the results of nucleotide sequence comparison. By the example of bacteria of the genus Rickettsia, we have shown that phylogenetic reconstructions based on quantitative estimates of the similarity and cladistic analysis of gene order data, may, in some cases, amend and fill up classical phylogenetic trees. When applied, these approaches enabled us to substantiate the hypothesis that Rickettsia felis species had split before the typhus (R. typhi, R. prowazekii) and spotted fever (R. connorii) group divergence and thus R. felis does not belong to the latter group. In general, rickettsias evolved towards increasing intracellular parasitic specialization. Five Rickettsia species whose genomes have been sequenced and annotated completely actually form an evolutionary series R. bellii—R. felis—R. conorii—R. prowazekii—R. typhi. Within this series, a reduction in genome size and rapid decrease of genome rearrangement rates (genome plasticity loss) gradually occur.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: May 4, 2008
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