Cambridge university biological society
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The Ecology and Evolution of Bacterial Pangenomes
Michael Brockhurst is an evolutionary biologist studying the evolutionary dynamics of microbial communities, and currently Chair in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Manchester. He won the Microbiology Society’s 2015 Fleming Prize, and is now a Senior Editor of ‘Microbiology’.
Since the first genome scale comparisons it has been evident that bacterial evolution is unbound by strict vertical descent and that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a key mode of evolutionary innovation. Prof Brockhurst will discuss results from experimental evolution studies into the dynamics of plasmid-mediated HGT in bacterial communities, the causes of fitness costs associated with plasmid acquisition, and how these are overcome by rapid compensatory evolution enabling the integration of newly acquired genes into the genome.