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Title: Genome-wide Selective Sweeps in Natural Bacterial Populations Revealed by Time-series Metagenomics

Multiple evolutionary models have been proposed to explain the formation of genetically and ecologically distinct bacterial groups. Time-series metagenomics enables direct observation of evolutionary processes in natural populations, and if applied over a sufficiently long time frame, this approach could capture events such as gene-specific or genome-wide selective sweeps. Direct observations of either process could help resolve how distinct groups form in natural microbial assemblages. Here, from a three-year metagenomic study of a freshwater lake, we explore changes in single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) frequencies and patterns of gene gain and loss in populations of Chlorobiaceae and Methylophilaceae. SNP analyses revealed substantial genetic heterogeneity within these populations, although the degree of heterogeneity varied considerably among closely related, co-occurring Methylophilaceae populations. SNP allele frequencies, as well as the relative abundance of certain genes, changed dramatically over time in each population. Interestingly, SNP diversity was purged at nearly every genome position in one of the Chlorobiaceae populations over the course of three years, while at the same time multiple genes either swept through or were swept from this population. These patterns were consistent with a genome-wide selective sweep, a process predicted by the ‘ecotype model’ of diversification, but not previously observed in naturalmore » populations.« less
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Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Genomics Division
Country of Publication:
United States