2021 article

A non-adaptive demographic mechanism for genome expansion in Streptomyces

Choudoir, M. J., Järvenpää, M. J., Marttinen, P., & Buckley, D. H. (2021, January 11). (Vol. 1). Vol. 1.

co-author countries: Finland 🇫🇮 United States of America 🇺🇸

Contributors: M. Choudoir*

Source: ORCID
Added: September 19, 2022

Abstract The evolution of microbial genome size is driven by gene acquisition and loss events that occur at scales from individual genomes to entire pangenomes. The equilibrium between gene gain and loss is shaped by evolutionary forces, including selection and drift, which are in turn influenced by population demographics. There is a well-known bias towards deletion in microbial genomes, which promotes genome streamlining. Less well described are mechanisms that promote genome expansion, giving rise to the many microbes, such as Streptomyces , that have unusually large genomes. We find evidence of genome expansion in Streptomyces sister-taxa, and we hypothesize that a recent demographic range expansion drove increases in genome size through a non-adaptive mechanism. These Streptomyces sister-taxa, NDR (northern-derived) and SDR (southern-derived), represent recently diverged lineages that occupy distinct geographic ranges. Relative to SDR genomes, NDR genomes are larger, have more genes, and their genomes are enriched in intermediate frequency genes. We also find evidence of relaxed selection in NDR genomes relative to SDR genomes. We hypothesize that geographic range expansion, coupled with relaxed selection, facilitated the introgression of non-adaptive horizontally acquired genes, which accumulated at intermediate frequencies through a mechanism known as genome surfing. We show that similar patterns of pangenome structure and genome expansion occur in a simulation that models the effects of population expansion on genome dynamics. We show that non-adaptive evolutionary phenomena can explain expansion of microbial genome size, and suggest that this mechanism might explain why some bacteria with large genomes can be found in soil.