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Why is the traditional concept of species not readily applicable to microbes due to asexual reproduction and the frequent occurrence of horizontal gene transfer?

Topic

Evolution

Framing Question

Why is the traditional concept of species not readily applicable to microbes due to asexual reproduction and the frequent occurrence of horizontal gene transfer?

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the general process of sexual reproduction, and how it relates to the definition of species in eukaryotic organisms.
  • Describe the general process of asexual reproduction/binary fission.
  • Describe the concept of a species with regard to a core genome and genomic islands.
  • Explain why the traditional definitions of species using reproductive isolation do not apply to Bacteria and Archaea.
  • Bacterial and archaeal species are often defined as bacteria exhibiting more than 70% DNA hybridization among strains. Discuss one benefit and one problem of this definition of the species.

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