Horizontal gene transfer - the exchange of genetic material between organisms through mechanisms other than reproduction, has been shown to play an important role in prokaryotic genome evolution. Previous studies have predominantly focused on recent horizontal gene transfer events, often limiting investigation to human-associated microorganisms. In this study, we aim to conduct a more global survey of the factors contributing to horizontal gene transfer.
To this end, we clustered gene sequences from over 8’792 species pangenomes in the proGenomes v2.2 database (doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz1002) at 80% nucleotide identity, resulting in 1.3 million clusters. For each cluster, a gene tree was generated and horizontal gene transfer was detected through reconciliation with the species tree. In addition, we have placed species participating in horizontal gene transfer into ecological context using data from the Microbe Atlas Project database (https://microbeatlas.org). During my presentation, I will show preliminary results from this project and discuss possible future analyses.