Ordered orthology as a tool in prokaryotic evolutionary inference

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Molecular data is accumulated at exponentially increasing pace. This deluge of information should have brought us closer to resolving one of the most fundamental issues in biology-deciphering the history of life on Earth. So far, however, this abundance of data only seems to blur our understanding of the problem. This is largely due to horizontal gene transfer (HGT), the transfer of genetic material between evolutionarily unrelated organisms that transforms the prokaryotic tree into a network of relationships. Recently, we developed a method to infer evolutionary relationships among closely related species where the conventional evolutionary markers do not provide a strong enough signal. The method relies on the loss of synteny, gene order conservation among species that provides a stronger signal, sufficient to classify even strains of a given species. Here we elaborate on this method and suggest further uses of it in the context of detecting HGT events and genome architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1120576
JournalMobile Genetic Elements
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (grant ISF 1852/14).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis.


  • Genome architecture
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Phylogenetics
  • Synteny
  • Tree of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics


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