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Tapestry of Life: Lateral Transfers of Heritable Elements

Organized by Siv Andersson, Jonathan Eisen, Claire Fraser, and Jeffrey Gordon

Co-Chairs: Claire Fraser and Jeffrey Gordon

December 12-13, 2005
Irvine, CA

Meeting Overview:
The Sackler Colloquium The Tapestry of Life: Lateral Transfers of Heritable Elements was held on December 12-13, 2005. What Darwin saw as a tree of life descending in a linear fashion, is now more accurately seen as a tapestry of life, an anastomosing network, with important lateral transfers of heritable elements among parallel lines of descent. These transfers range in complexity from small insertion sequences, to whole genes, gene islands, and portions of whole genomes which may be combined in symbiogenesis. The colloquium brought together researchers, empirical and theoretical, working at all levels on genomics, comparative genomics, and metagenomics to identify common and differentiating features of lateral gene transfer and to examine their implications for science and for human concerns.

Video Available


Jeffrey Gordon, Washington University School of Medicine
 Opening Remarks

Session I: Mechanisms and Experimental Studies of LGT
Abigail Salyers, University of Illinois, Chair

 Global Phage Diversity and the Movement of Genes
Forest Rohwer, San Diego State University

 Prochlorococcus Diversity: How to Dominate the Oceans with 2000 Genes
Penny Chisholm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 LGT in the Human Colon: How Much and How Important?
Abigail Salyers, University of Illinois

Molecular Machinery for Lateral Transfer of Introns
Marlene Belfort, Wadsworth Center, NYS Department of Health

Poster Abstract Presentation:
 Natural Transformation as a Source of Diversity Among Vibrio Cholerae Isolates
Michael Miller, Stanford University

Session II: Methods of Detection
 Measuring Non-Random LGT Among Bacterial Lineages
Jeffrey Lawrence, University of Pittsburgh, Chair

 Are Horizontal Gene Transfers the Most Disturbing Limitation for Inferring Prokaryotic Phylogeny?
Herve Philippe, University of Montreal

 Genome Conservation and the Net of Life
Christos Ouzounis, European Bioinformatics Institute

 The Ring of Life and the Origin of Eukaryotes
James Lake, University of California, Los Angeles

Poster Abstract Presentation:
 Parametric Bootstrap Analyses of Bacterial 16SrRNA Mosaicism
Kaiyuan Shi, University of Connecticut

Session III: Case Studies
Siv Andersson, University of Uppsala, Chair

 Plant Mitochondrial Genomes: Unexpected Bounties of Lateral Gene Transfer
Jeffrey Palmer, Indiana University

 Enterococcal Pheromone-Responsive Plasmids: Broad-Host Range Transfer Controlled by Narrow-Host Range Cell-Cell Signaling
Gary Dunny, University of Minnesota

 Impact of Lateral Gene Transfer on the Eukaryotic Nuclear Genome
Patrick Keeling, University of British Columbia

Alpha-Proteobacterial Gene Transfers and the Origin of Mitochondria
Siv Andersson, University of Uppsala

Poster Abstract Presentation:
 Intracellular Gene Transfer in Endosymbiotic Genome Integration
Nicola Patron, University of British Columbia

Session IV: Evolutionary Implications of LGT
 Environmental Genomics and LGT: Can we Identify Organisms through their DNA if all Organisms are Chimeras?
Jonathan Eisen, The Institute for Genomic Research, Chair

 Inferring Eukaryotic Divergences
Sandra Baldauf, University of York

 How to Recover the History of the Archaeal Domain, despite Lateral Gene Transfer?
Patrick Forterre, University of Paris

"Web of Life"
Ford Doolittle, Dalhousie University

Poster Abstract Presentation:
 The Plastid Genome of the Haptophyte Emiliania Huxleyi and the Evolution of the Cholorphyll C Containing Plastids
M. Virginia Sanchez-Puerta, University of Maryland-College Park

Wrap Up: Impact, Applications, and Future Challenges
 Comparative Microbial Genomics: Insights Into Evolution and Organismal Diversity
Claire Fraser, The Institute for Genomic Research

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