Presentation Title

Novel Computational Method to Infer Interkingdom Horizontal Gene Transfer

Faculty Mentor

Matthew Daugherty

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

74

Session

poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is an evolutionary mechanism that involves one species acquiring genes from another species by means other than from parent to offspring. Although rampant in the prokaryotic domain of life, a large gap in knowledge exists regarding the extent of HGT incidence between prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Recent single studies have shown rare instances of horizontally transferred genes providing functions in immunity, metabolism and/or adaptation to new environments to the recipient animal. However, no one has searched for interkingdom HGT at an extensive level. We aim to establish an automated, unbiased, and reproducible system for large scale detection of interkingdom HGT that possesses the scaling and the tractability needed to handle a continually growing database of genomes. Here, we present our computational pipeline that combines comparative genomics and phylogenetic analyses using heuristic filtering algorithms to identify novel instances of HGT from bacteria to metazoans. Using our pipeline, we were able to capture 25 published instances of HGT which serve as positive controls and an additional 40 novel instances of HGT in metazoan species across the phylogeny. Future work aims to understand the mechanisms of gene transfer and experimentally test our computationally informed hypothesis regarding the functional utility of these novel HGT cases. The outcome of our work is to visually represent instances of interkingdom HGT on phylogenetic trees and generate a catalogue of high-confidence HGT candidates. Our work demonstrates the incidence of interkingdom HGT is more widespread than previously known and acquisition of new genetic capabilities can be essential to species.

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Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM

Novel Computational Method to Infer Interkingdom Horizontal Gene Transfer

74

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is an evolutionary mechanism that involves one species acquiring genes from another species by means other than from parent to offspring. Although rampant in the prokaryotic domain of life, a large gap in knowledge exists regarding the extent of HGT incidence between prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Recent single studies have shown rare instances of horizontally transferred genes providing functions in immunity, metabolism and/or adaptation to new environments to the recipient animal. However, no one has searched for interkingdom HGT at an extensive level. We aim to establish an automated, unbiased, and reproducible system for large scale detection of interkingdom HGT that possesses the scaling and the tractability needed to handle a continually growing database of genomes. Here, we present our computational pipeline that combines comparative genomics and phylogenetic analyses using heuristic filtering algorithms to identify novel instances of HGT from bacteria to metazoans. Using our pipeline, we were able to capture 25 published instances of HGT which serve as positive controls and an additional 40 novel instances of HGT in metazoan species across the phylogeny. Future work aims to understand the mechanisms of gene transfer and experimentally test our computationally informed hypothesis regarding the functional utility of these novel HGT cases. The outcome of our work is to visually represent instances of interkingdom HGT on phylogenetic trees and generate a catalogue of high-confidence HGT candidates. Our work demonstrates the incidence of interkingdom HGT is more widespread than previously known and acquisition of new genetic capabilities can be essential to species.