Homologous recombination between bacterial strains is theoretically capable of preventing the separation of daughter clusters, and producing cohesive clouds of genotypes in sequence space. However, numerous barriers to recombination are known. Barriers may be essential such as adaptive incompatibility, or ecological, which is associated with the opportunities for recombination in the natural habitat. Campylobacter jejuni is a gut colonizer of numerous animal species and a major human enteric pathogen. We demonstrate that the two major generalist lineages of C. jejuni do not show evidence of recombination with each other in nature, despite having a high degree of host niche overlap and recombining extensively with specialist lineages. However, transformation experiments show that the generalist lineages readily recombine with one another in vitro. This suggests ecological rather than essential barriers to recombination, caused by a cryptic niche structure within the hosts.
Assembled 128 Campylobacter whole genome sequences: 128 Campylobacter whole genomes sequenced using a Illumina HiSeq 2000 and assembled using Velvet. Filenames refer to IDs in Table S1 in the associated publication.
Complete set of available STs for C. jejuni (sequences): Sequences of every alleles for MLST profiles of 3,834 STs present in the pubMLST Campylobacter database as of the 26th of May 2011 and used in the associated publication.
Complete host associations with C. jejuni ST clonal complexes: Complete host associations with C. jejuni ST clonal complexes, using data extracted from pubMLST as of 26th May 2011, used in the associated publication to produce Fig. 1B.
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- Microbial Biology
- molecular evolution