Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) plays a central role in microbial evolution. Our understanding of the mechanisms, frequency and taxonomic range of HGT in polymicrobial environments is limited, as we currently rely on historical HGT events inferred from genome sequencing and studies involving cultured microorganisms. We lack approaches to observe ongoing HGT in microbial communities. To address this knowledge gap, we developed a DNA sequencing based “transductomics” approach that detects and characterizes microbial DNA transferred via transduction. We validated our approach using model systems representing a range of transduction modes and show that we can detect numerous classes of transducing DNA. Additionally, we show that we can use this methodology to obtain insights into DNA transduction among all major taxonomic groups of the intestinal microbiome. This work extends the genomic toolkit for the broader study of mobile DNA within microbial communities and could be used to understand how phenotypes spread within microbiomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)