horizontal gene transfer


Summary: The naturally occurring transmission of genetic information between organisms, related or unrelated, circumventing parent-to-offspring transmission. Horizontal gene transfer may occur via a variety of naturally occurring processes such as GENETIC CONJUGATION; GENETIC TRANSDUCTION; and TRANSFECTION. It may result in a change of the recipient organism's genetic composition (TRANSFORMATION, GENETIC).

Top Publications

  1. Andersson J. Horizontal gene transfer between microbial eukaryotes. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:473-87 pubmed publisher
    ..Studies of microbial eukaryotes show that both categories undergo horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from prokaryotes, but also between eukaryotic organisms...
  2. Keeling P. Role of horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of photosynthetic eukaryotes and their plastids. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:501-15 pubmed publisher
    ..Most horizontal gene transfer (HGT) affecting the modern plastid has taken place via the host nucleus, in the form of genes for plastid-..
  3. Martinez Romero E. Coevolution in Rhizobium-legume symbiosis?. DNA Cell Biol. 2009;28:361-70 pubmed publisher
    ..Novel results on symbiosis suggest a more complex evolutionary process for nodulation that may include multiple organisms, such as mycorrhiza, nematodes, and other bacteria in addition to rhizobia. ..
  4. Liu H, Fu Y, Jiang D, Li G, Xie J, Cheng J, et al. Widespread horizontal gene transfer from double-stranded RNA viruses to eukaryotic nuclear genomes. J Virol. 2010;84:11876-87 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer commonly occurs from cells to viruses but rarely occurs from viruses to their host cells, with the exception of retroviruses and some DNA viruses...
  5. Boc A, Philippe H, Makarenkov V. Inferring and validating horizontal gene transfer events using bipartition dissimilarity. Syst Biol. 2010;59:195-211 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is one of the main mechanisms driving the evolution of microorganisms. Its accurate identification is one of the major challenges posed by reticulate evolution...
  6. Coffey L, Owens E, Tambling K, O NEILL D, O Connor L, O Reilly C. Real-time PCR detection of Fe-type nitrile hydratase genes from environmental isolates suggests horizontal gene transfer between multiple genera. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2010;98:455-63 pubmed publisher
    ..The results provide further evidence that many bacteria have acquired the genes via horizontal gene transfer. The real-time PCR assay should prove useful in searching for nitrile hydratases that could have novel ..
  7. Kang H, Kim J, Seol S, Lee Y, Lee J, Cho D. Characterization of conjugative plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes encoding 16S rRNA methylase, extended-spectrum beta-lactamase, and/or plasmid-mediated AmpC beta-lactamase. J Microbiol. 2009;47:68-75 pubmed publisher
  8. Lawrence J, Retchless A. The interplay of homologous recombination and horizontal gene transfer in bacterial speciation. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:29-53 pubmed publisher
    ..In contrast, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) increases the size of the population's pan-genome by providing an influx of novel genetic material...
  9. Yagi J, Sims D, Brettin T, Bruce D, Madsen E. The genome of Polaromonas naphthalenivorans strain CJ2, isolated from coal tar-contaminated sediment, reveals physiological and metabolic versatility and evolution through extensive horizontal gene transfer. Environ Microbiol. 2009;11:2253-70 pubmed publisher
    ..showed at least six anomalous regions in the chromosome, indicating alteration of genome architecture via horizontal gene transfer. Detailed analysis of one of these anomalous regions (96 kb in size, containing the nag-like naphthalene ..

More Information


  1. Novick P, Smith J, Ray D, Boissinot S. Independent and parallel lateral transfer of DNA transposons in tetrapod genomes. Gene. 2010;449:85-94 pubmed publisher
    ..This suggests that some organisms might be intrinsically more vulnerable to DNA transposon lateral transfer, possibly because of a weakened defense against transposons or because they have developed mechanisms to tolerate their impact. ..
  2. Veyrier F, Pletzer D, Turenne C, Behr M. Phylogenetic detection of horizontal gene transfer during the step-wise genesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. BMC Evol Biol. 2009;9:196 pubmed publisher
    ..environmental organisms, we have used genome sequence data from 16 mycobacteria to look for evidence of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) associated with the emergence of pathogenesis...
  3. Nouvel L, Marenda M, Sirand Pugnet P, Sagné E, Glew M, Mangenot S, et al. Occurrence, plasticity, and evolution of the vpma gene family, a genetic system devoted to high-frequency surface variation in Mycoplasma agalactiae. J Bacteriol. 2009;191:4111-21 pubmed publisher
  4. Liu M, Siezen R, Nauta A. In silico prediction of horizontal gene transfer events in Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus reveals protocooperation in yogurt manufacturing. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009;75:4120-9 pubmed publisher
    ..bulgaricus and S. thermophilus. Putative horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events that have occurred between the two bacterial species include the transfer of ..
  5. Monier A, Pagarete A, de Vargas C, Allen M, Read B, Claverie J, et al. Horizontal gene transfer of an entire metabolic pathway between a eukaryotic alga and its DNA virus. Genome Res. 2009;19:1441-9 pubmed publisher
    ..However, little has been documented about the occurrence of horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotic phytoplankton/virus systems...
  6. Palmer K, Kos V, Gilmore M. Horizontal gene transfer and the genomics of enterococcal antibiotic resistance. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2010;13:632-9 pubmed publisher
    ..faecium as well. Further, incompatibility group 18 plasmids have recently played an important role in mediating transfer of vancomycin resistance from enterococci to methicillin-resistant strains of S. aureus. ..
  7. Odom M, Hendrickson R, Lefkowitz E. Poxvirus protein evolution: family wide assessment of possible horizontal gene transfer events. Virus Res. 2009;144:233-49 pubmed publisher
    ..Although this method alone does not definitively prove horizontal gene transfer, it allows us to provide an assessment of the possibility of horizontal gene transfer for every poxvirus ..
  8. Richards T, Soanes D, Foster P, Leonard G, Thornton C, Talbot N. Phylogenomic analysis demonstrates a pattern of rare and ancient horizontal gene transfer between plants and fungi. Plant Cell. 2009;21:1897-911 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) describes the transmission of genetic material across species boundaries and is an important evolutionary phenomenon in the ancestry of many microbes...
  9. Morris P, Schlosser L, Onasch K, Wittenschlaeger T, Austin R, Provart N. Multiple horizontal gene transfer events and domain fusions have created novel regulatory and metabolic networks in the oomycete genome. PLoS ONE. 2009;4:e6133 pubmed publisher
  10. Keeling P. Functional and ecological impacts of horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotes. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2009;19:613-9 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is known to have contributed to the content of eukaryotic genomes, but the direct effects of HGT on eukaryotic evolution are more obscure because many of the best supported cases involve a new gene replacing ..
  11. Kado C. Horizontal gene transfer: sustaining pathogenicity and optimizing host-pathogen interactions. Mol Plant Pathol. 2009;10:143-50 pubmed publisher
    ..Genes that have moved from the domains Archaea and Eukarya to the domain Bacteria are true cases of horizontal gene transfer. They represent interdomain genetic transfer...
  12. Beiko R, Ragan M. Untangling hybrid phylogenetic signals: horizontal gene transfer and artifacts of phylogenetic reconstruction. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:241-56 pubmed publisher
    ..Building 'all the trees of all the genes' can potentially identify common pathways of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) among taxa at varying levels of phylogenetic depth...
  13. Juhas M, van der Meer J, Gaillard M, Harding R, Hood D, Crook D. Genomic islands: tools of bacterial horizontal gene transfer and evolution. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2009;33:376-93 pubmed publisher
    Bacterial genomes evolve through mutations, rearrangements or horizontal gene transfer. Besides the core genes encoding essential metabolic functions, bacterial genomes also harbour a number of accessory genes acquired by horizontal gene ..
  14. Zhaxybayeva O. Detection and quantitative assessment of horizontal gene transfer. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:195-213 pubmed publisher
    ..The impact of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) on prokaryote genome evolution is discussed.
  15. Iwasaki W, Takagi T. Rapid pathway evolution facilitated by horizontal gene transfers across prokaryotic lineages. PLoS Genet. 2009;5:e1000402 pubmed publisher
    ..Such a model would complement existing pathway evolution models. ..
  16. Puigbò P, Wolf Y, Koonin E. Search for a 'Tree of Life' in the thicket of the phylogenetic forest. J Biol. 2009;8:59 pubmed publisher
    Comparative genomics has revealed extensive horizontal gene transfer among prokaryotes, a development that is often considered to undermine the 'tree of life' concept...
  17. Schubert S, Darlu P, Clermont O, Wieser A, Magistro G, Hoffmann C, et al. Role of intraspecies recombination in the spread of pathogenicity islands within the Escherichia coli species. PLoS Pathog. 2009;5:e1000257 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer is a key step in the evolution of bacterial pathogens. Besides phages and plasmids, pathogenicity islands (PAIs) are subjected to horizontal transfer...
  18. Yoshida S, Maruyama S, Nozaki H, Shirasu K. Horizontal gene transfer by the parasitic plant Striga hermonthica. Science. 2010;328:1128 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer has been postulated to occur between crops to co-occurring parasitic plants, but empirical evidence has been lacking...
  19. Gilbert C, Schaack S, Pace J, Brindley P, FESCHOTTE C. A role for host-parasite interactions in the horizontal transfer of transposons across phyla. Nature. 2010;464:1347-50 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, the large amount of DNA generated by the amplification of the horizontally transferred transposons supports the idea that the exchange of genetic material between hosts and parasites influences their genomic evolution. ..
  20. Su Z, Kong F, Wang S, Chen J, Yin R, Zhou C, et al. The rag locus of Porphyromonas gingivalis might arise from Bacteroides via horizontal gene transfer. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2010;29:429-37 pubmed publisher
    ..The results showed that the rag locus may be associated with severe periodontitis. This work also firstly ascertained that the rag locus might arise, in theory, from Bacteroides sp. via horizontal gene transfer.
  21. Raz Y, Tannenbaum E. The influence of horizontal gene transfer on the mean fitness of unicellular populations in static environments. Genetics. 2010;185:327-37 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is believed to be a major source of genetic variation, particularly for prokaryotes...
  22. Portillo M, Gonzalez J. CRISPR elements in the Thermococcales: evidence for associated horizontal gene transfer in Pyrococcus furiosus. J Appl Genet. 2009;50:421-30 pubmed publisher
    ..furiosus genome. These results represent the first evidence suggesting that repeated CRISPR elements can be involved in horizontal gene transfer and genomic differentiation of hyperthermophilic Archaea.
  23. Caro Quintero A, Rodriguez Castaño G, Konstantinidis K. Genomic insights into the convergence and pathogenicity factors of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli species. J Bacteriol. 2009;191:5824-31 pubmed publisher
    ..Accordingly, these genes may represent important pathogenic determinants of pathogenic Campylobacter, and convergence of (any) two bacterial species remains to be seen. ..
  24. Naum M, Brown E, Mason Gamer R. Phylogenetic evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer of type III secretion system genes among enterobacterial plant pathogens. Microbiology. 2009;155:3187-99 pubmed publisher
    ..genes, which are involved in the formation of the type III secretion apparatus, to determine the role of horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of virulence genes for the enterobacterial plant pathogens...
  25. Paz Y Miño C G, Espinosa A. Integrating horizontal gene transfer and common descent to depict evolution and contrast it with "common design". J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2010;57:11-8 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and common descent interact in space and time. Because events of HGT co-occur with phylogenetic evolution, it is difficult to depict evolutionary patterns graphically...
  26. Glansdorff N, Xu Y, Labedan B. The conflict between horizontal gene transfer and the safeguard of identity: origin of meiotic sexuality. J Mol Evol. 2009;69:470-80 pubmed publisher
    Contrary to a widespread opinion, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between distantly related microorganisms (such as Bacteria and Archaea) has not been demonstrated to occur on a large scale...
  27. Olendzenski L, Gogarten J. Evolution of genes and organisms: the tree/web of life in light of horizontal gene transfer. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009;1178:137-45 pubmed publisher
    ..Gene exchange, whether by horizontal gene transfer (HGT), hybridization of species, or symbiosis, modifies the organismal tree of life into a web...
  28. Chen J, Novick R. Phage-mediated intergeneric transfer of toxin genes. Science. 2009;323:139-41 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, phages may participate in a far more expansive network of genetic information exchange among bacteria of different species than originally thought, with important implications for the evolution of human pathogens. ..
  29. Zhaxybayeva O, Swithers K, Lapierre P, Fournier G, Bickhart D, Deboy R, et al. On the chimeric nature, thermophilic origin, and phylogenetic placement of the Thermotogales. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106:5865-70 pubmed publisher
    ..Linnaean hierarchy and the evolutionary goal of understanding phylogenesis in the presence of pervasive horizontal gene transfer (HGT) within prokaryotes...
  30. Fitzpatrick D. Lines of evidence for horizontal gene transfer of a phenazine producing operon into multiple bacterial species. J Mol Evol. 2009;68:171-85 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, I wanted to determine if the phenazine operon has been transferred through horizontal gene transfer. Analyses of GC content, codon usage patterns, frequency of 3:1 dinucleotides, sequence similarities, and ..
  31. Sobecky P, Coombs J. Horizontal gene transfer in metal and radionuclide contaminated soils. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:455-72 pubmed publisher
    ..The analyses of completed prokaryotic genomes reveal that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) continues to be an important factor contributing to the innovation of microbial genomes...
  32. Chan C, Darling A, Beiko R, Ragan M. Are protein domains modules of lateral genetic transfer?. PLoS ONE. 2009;4:e4524 pubmed publisher
    ..Protein domains are units of function, but domons are not modules of transfer and recombination. Our results demonstrate that LGT can remodel even the most functionally conservative modules within genomes. ..
  33. Barlow M. What antimicrobial resistance has taught us about horizontal gene transfer. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:397-411 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has been responsible for the dissemination of numerous antimicrobial-resistance determinants throughout diverse bacterial species...
  34. Bapteste E, Boucher Y. Epistemological impacts of horizontal gene transfer on classification in microbiology. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:55-72 pubmed publisher
    We describe the reasons why the newly recognized process of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) forces evolutionists who study classification and microbiology to go beyond the classical Darwinian framework...
  35. Cortez D, Delaye L, Lazcano A, Becerra A. Composition-based methods to identify horizontal gene transfer. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:215-25 pubmed publisher
    The detection of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events has become an increasingly important issue in recent years...
  36. Fournier G. Horizontal gene transfer and the evolution of methanogenic pathways. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:163-79 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a driving force in the evolution of metabolic pathways, allowing novel enzymatic functions that provide a selective advantage to be rapidly incorporated into an organism's physiology...
  37. McDaniel L, Young E, Delaney J, Ruhnau F, Ritchie K, Paul J. High frequency of horizontal gene transfer in the oceans. Science. 2010;330:50 pubmed publisher
    ..We demonstrate that the widespread capability of marine bacteria to participate in horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in coastal and oceanic environments may be the result of gene transfer agents (GTAs), viral-like ..
  38. Fournier G, Huang J, Gogarten J. Horizontal gene transfer from extinct and extant lineages: biological innovation and the coral of life. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009;364:2229-39 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is often considered to be a source of error in phylogenetic reconstruction, causing individual gene trees within an organismal lineage to be incongruent, obfuscating the 'true' evolutionary history...
  39. Corvaglia A, Francois P, Hernandez D, Perron K, Linder P, Schrenzel J. A type III-like restriction endonuclease functions as a major barrier to horizontal gene transfer in clinical Staphylococcus aureus strains. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107:11954-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Inactivation of this restriction system dramatically increases the transformation efficiency of clinical S. aureus strains, opening the field of molecular genetic manipulation of these strains using DNA of exogenous origin. ..
  40. Palenik B, Ren Q, Tai V, Paulsen I. Coastal Synechococcus metagenome reveals major roles for horizontal gene transfer and plasmids in population diversity. Environ Microbiol. 2009;11:349-59 pubmed publisher
    ..These results can be explained by extensive horizontal gene transfer presumably with large differences in horizontally transferred genetic material between different strains...
  41. Schmitt I, Lumbsch H. Ancient horizontal gene transfer from bacteria enhances biosynthetic capabilities of fungi. PLoS ONE. 2009;4:e4437 pubmed publisher
    ..Gene duplication and subfunctionalization, as well as horizontal gene transfer are proposed mechanisms in the evolution of biosynthetic gene clusters...
  42. Guidot A, Coupat B, Fall S, Prior P, Bertolla F. Horizontal gene transfer between Ralstonia solanacearum strains detected by comparative genomic hybridization on microarrays. ISME J. 2009;3:549-62 pubmed publisher
    ..In future studies, this strategy should help to answer many questions related to HGT mechanisms...
  43. Hill T, Nordström K, Thollesson M, Säfström T, Vernersson A, Fredriksson R, et al. SPRIT: Identifying horizontal gene transfer in rooted phylogenetic trees. BMC Evol Biol. 2010;10:42 pubmed publisher
    Phylogenetic trees based on sequences from a set of taxa can be incongruent due to horizontal gene transfer (HGT)...
  44. Nouvel L, Sirand Pugnet P, Marenda M, Sagné E, Barbe V, Mangenot S, et al. Comparative genomic and proteomic analyses of two Mycoplasma agalactiae strains: clues to the macro- and micro-events that are shaping mycoplasma diversity. BMC Genomics. 2010;11:86 pubmed publisher
    ..by suggesting that these simple bacteria are able to exchange significant amount of genetic material via horizontal gene transfer. Yet, events that are shaping mycoplasma genomes and that are underlining diversity within this species ..
  45. Castillo Ramírez S, Vázquez Castellanos J, Gonzalez V, Cevallos M. Horizontal gene transfer and diverse functional constrains within a common replication-partitioning system in Alphaproteobacteria: the repABC operon. BMC Genomics. 2009;10:536 pubmed publisher
    ..Here, we tested whether there is a common evolutionary history within the repABC operon. We further examined different incompatibility groups in terms of their differentiation and degree of adaptation to their host...
  46. Raymond J. The role of horizontal gene transfer in photosynthesis, oxygen production, and oxygen tolerance. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:323-38 pubmed publisher
    ..Remarkably, instances of horizontal gene transfer have been identified at nearly every step in this transformation of the biosphere, from the evolution and ..
  47. Boto L. Horizontal gene transfer in evolution: facts and challenges. Proc Biol Sci. 2010;277:819-27 pubmed publisher
    The contribution of horizontal gene transfer to evolution has been controversial since it was suggested to be a force driving evolution in the microbial world...
  48. Alsmark U, Sicheritz Ponten T, Foster P, Hirt R, Embley T. Horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotic parasites: a case study of Entamoeba histolytica and Trichomonas vaginalis. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:489-500 pubmed publisher
    Over the past few years it has become apparent that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has played an important role in the evolution of pathogenic prokaryotes...
  49. Mitreva M, Smant G, Helder J. Role of horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of plant parasitism among nematodes. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;532:517-35 pubmed publisher
    b>Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) implies the non-sexual exchange of genetic material between species - in some cases even across kingdoms...
  50. Kidane D, Carrasco B, Manfredi C, Rothmaier K, Ayora S, Tadesse S, et al. Evidence for different pathways during horizontal gene transfer in competent Bacillus subtilis cells. PLoS Genet. 2009;5:e1000630 pubmed publisher
    ..Transfection with SPP1 viral DNA follows an intermediate route that contains functions from both chromosomal and plasmid transformation pathways. ..
  51. Roulin A, Piegu B, Fortune P, Sabot F, D Hont A, Manicacci D, et al. Whole genome surveys of rice, maize and sorghum reveal multiple horizontal transfers of the LTR-retrotransposon Route66 in Poaceae. BMC Evol Biol. 2009;9:58 pubmed publisher
    ..We therefore propose to integrate classe I elements into the previous model of transposable element evolution through horizontal transfers. ..
  52. Klasson L, Westberg J, Sapountzis P, Näslund K, Lutnaes Y, Darby A, et al. The mosaic genome structure of the Wolbachia wRi strain infecting Drosophila simulans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106:5725-30 pubmed publisher
    ..revealed diversification of ankyrin repeat genes by short tandem duplications and provided examples of horizontal gene transfer across A- and B-group strains that infect D. simulans...
  53. Pontiroli A, Rizzi A, Simonet P, Daffonchio D, Vogel T, Monier J. Visual evidence of horizontal gene transfer between plants and bacteria in the phytosphere of transplastomic tobacco. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009;75:3314-22 pubmed publisher
    Plant surfaces, colonized by numerous and diverse bacterial species, are often considered hot spots for horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between plants and bacteria...