Horizontal gene transfer

Mark S. Rose mark_rose at ncsu.edu
Tue Feb 11 05:23:38 EST 1997

Probably the most convincing case of horizontal gene transfer in fungi
involves the beta-lactam biosynthetic genes found in certain Penicillium
and Cephalosporium spp.  A useful review of this is "Penicillin and
Cephalosporin Biosynthetic Genes: Structure, Organization, Regulation, and
Evolution" Y. Aharonowitz, G. Cohen, and J.F. Martin. Annu. Rev.
Microbiol. 1992 46:461-495.  Another possible instance of horizontal gene
transfer, though highly speculative at this point, is the presence of the
T-toxin biosynthetic genes in Cochliobolus heterostrophus race T (the
subject of my Ph.D. dissertation).  These genes are not found in race O or
other Cochliobolus species.  Shortly after being identified in the 1960's
race T devastated the the 1970 US corn crop causing $1 billion in damage,
the most expensive plant disease epidemic in history.

Dr. Mark Rose
Plant Pathology Dept.
Raleigh,NC 27695-7616

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