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In bacteria, DNA sequence mismatches act as a barrier to recombination between distantly related organisms and can potentially promote the cohesion of species. We have performed computer simulations which show that the homology dependence of recombination can causede novospeciation in a neutrally evolving population once a critical population size has been exceeded. Our model can explain the patterns of divergence and genetic exchange observed in the genusSalmonella, without invoking either natural selection or geographical population subdivision. If this model was validated, based on extensive sequence data, it would imply that the named subspecies ofSalmonella entericacorrespond to good biological species, making species boundaries objective. However, multilocus sequence typing data, analysed using several conventional tools, provide a misleading impression of relationships withinS. entericasubspeciesentericaand do not provide the resolution to establish whether new species are presently being formed.

Original publication

DOI

10.1098/rstb.2006.1925

Type

Journal article

Journal

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Publisher

The Royal Society

Publication Date

29/11/2006

Volume

361

Pages

2045 - 2053