Isobel Eyres paper showing that horizontal gene exchange is ancient and common to bdelloid species at high levels of unto 10% of genes- much higher than observed in any other animal. Closely related species have picked up unique horizontally transferred genes, showing that the process is ongoing.
The paper was timely because evidence for high frequencies of horizontal transfer in tardigrades, published shortly before, was shown to result from contamination. Our work in this paper and subsequently rule out contamination as an explanation in bdelloids.
This paper outlines verbal theory, existing evidence and future avenues for studying evolutionary interactions across whole communities. Many thanks to the Biodiversity Research Centre at the University of British Columbia (UBC) for hosting my sabbatical visit. Watching cedar waxwings and hummingbirds from my office window helped inspire this paper. We now need quantitative theory to guide our experiments – watch this space!
Tomochika had bright ideas for making multi locus delimitation feasible on much large systematic samples (i.e. multiple individuals and species) while still using genealogical theory. Read about it here. Check out the new software at his website
6 years of hard work by Isobel shows that horizontal transfer has contributed genetic differences among bdelloids living in different habitats. It seems to be ongoing even in species that do not desiccate – interesting since the mechanism of gene transfer is argued to occur when rotifers repair their DNA following desiccation.
Check out the paper here