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The rhizome of life: what about metazoa?

Abstract : The increase in huge number of genomic sequences in recent years has contributed to various genetic events such as horizontal gene transfer (HGT), gene duplication and hybridization of species. Among them HGT has played an important role in the genome evolution and was believed to occur only in Bacterial and Archaeal genomes. As a result, genomes were found to be chimeric and the evolution of life was represented in different forms such as forests, networks and species evolution was described more like a rhizome, rather than a tree. However, in the last few years, HGT has also been evidenced in other group such as metazoa (for example in root-knot nematodes, bdelloid rotifers and mammals). In addition to HGT, other genetic events such as transfer by retrotransposons and hybridization between more closely related lineages are also well established. Therefore, in the light of such genetic events, whether the evolution of metazoa exists in the form of a tree, network or rhizome is highly questionable and needs to be determined. In the current review, we will focus on the role of HGT, retrotransposons and hybridization in the metazoan evolution.
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Hemalatha G Ramulu, Didier Raoult, Pierre Pontarotti. The rhizome of life: what about metazoa?. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, Frontiers, 2012, 2, pp.50. ⟨10.3389/fcimb.2012.00050⟩. ⟨hal-00831099⟩

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