Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):589-602 (2010)

We discuss the impact of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) on phylogenetic reconstruction and taxonomy. We review the power of HGT as a creative force in assembling new metabolic pathways, and we discuss the impact that HGT has on phylogenetic reconstruction. On one hand, shared derived characters are created through transferred genes that persist in the recipient lineage, either because they were adaptive in the recipient lineage or because they resulted in a functional replacement. On the other hand, taxonomic patterns in microbial phylogenies might also be created through biased gene transfer. The agreement between different molecular phylogenies has encouraged interpretation of the consensus signal as reflecting organismal history or as the tree of cell divisions; however, to date the extent to which the consensus reflects shared organismal ancestry and to which it reflects highways of gene sharing and biased gene transfer remains an open question. Preferential patterns of gene exchange act as a homogenizing force in creating and maintaining microbial groups, generating taxonomic patterns that are indistinguishable to those created by shared ancestry. To understand the evolution of higher bacterial taxonomic units, concepts usually applied in population genetics need to be applied.
Keywords Philosophy   Evolutionary Biology   Philosophy of Biology
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-010-9212-8
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References found in this work BETA

Phylogenetic Systematics.Willi Hennig - 1966 - University of Illinois Press.
Identity.Peter T. Geach - 1967 - Review of Metaphysics 21 (1):3 - 12.
Trashing Life’s Tree.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):689-709.
On the Possibility of Constructive Neutral Evolution.Arlin Stoltzfus - 1999 - Journal of Molecular Evolution 49 (2):169-181.

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Trashing Life’s Tree.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):689-709.

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