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Title: Divergent paths in the evolutionary history of maternally transmitted clam symbionts
Vertical transmission of bacterial endosymbionts is accompanied by virtually irreversible gene loss that results in a progressive reduction in genome size. While the evolutionary processes of genome reduction have been well described in some terrestrial symbioses, they are less understood in marine systems where vertical transmission is rarely observed. The association between deep-sea vesicomyid clams and chemosynthetic Gammaproteobacteria is one example of maternally inherited symbioses in the ocean. Here, we assessed the contributions of drift, recombination and selection to genome evolution in two extant vesicomyid symbiont clades by comparing 15 representative symbiont genomes (1.017–1.586 Mb) to those of closely related bacteria and the hosts' mitochondria. Our analyses suggest that drift is a significant force driving genome evolution in vesicomyid symbionts, though selection and interspecific recombination appear to be critical for maintaining symbiont functional integrity and creating divergent patterns of gene conservation. Notably, the two symbiont clades possess putative functional differences in sulfide physiology, anaerobic respiration and dependency on environmental vitamin B12, which probably reflect adaptations to different ecological habitats available to each symbiont group. Overall, these results contribute to our understanding of the eco-evolutionary processes shaping reductive genome evolution in vertically transmitted symbioses.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1736932
NSF-PAR ID:
10349125
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume:
289
Issue:
1970
ISSN:
0962-8452
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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