Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 813015, 7 pages
Research Article

Detection of Horizontal Gene Transfers from Phylogenetic Comparisons

1Laboratório de Biodiversidade e Biotecnologia para o Meio Ambiente, Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Avenida P.H. Rolfs, s/n, Viçosa, MG, Brazil
2Laboratório de Biotecnologia, CCTA, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro, Avenida Alberto Lamego, 2000, Parque Califórnia, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil
3Centro Universitário Newton Paiva, Escola de Engenharia e Arquitetura, Rua José Cláudio Rezende, 420, Estoril, CEP 30494-230 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
4Laboratório de Bioinformática e Evolução, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Avenida P.H. Rolfs, s/n, Viçosa, MG, Brazil

Received 9 February 2012; Revised 22 March 2012; Accepted 23 March 2012

Academic Editor: Hiromi Nishida

Copyright © 2012 Victor Satler Pylro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bacterial phylogenies have become one of the most important challenges for microbial ecology. This field started in the mid-1970s with the aim of using the sequence of the small subunit ribosomal RNA (16S) tool to infer bacterial phylogenies. Phylogenetic hypotheses based on other sequences usually give conflicting topologies that reveal different evolutionary histories, which in some cases may be the result of horizontal gene transfer events. Currently, one of the major goals of molecular biology is to understand the role that horizontal gene transfer plays in species adaptation and evolution. In this work, we compared the phylogenetic tree based on 16S with the tree based on dszC, a gene involved in the cleavage of carbon-sulfur bonds. Bacteria of several genera perform this survival task when living in environments lacking free mineral sulfur. The biochemical pathway of the desulphurization process was extensively studied due to its economic importance, since this step is expensive and indispensable in fuel production. Our results clearly show that horizontal gene transfer events could be detected using common phylogenetic methods with gene sequences obtained from public sequence databases.