2004 General Meeting : Division R
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2009 General Meeting Preview

The Evolution of Microbial Virulence | Linking Evolution of Protein Families to Genome Annotation Efforts | Division Night]

The 2009 ASM General Meeting will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during May 17 - 21, with an exciting scientific program in place. Our Division R will contribute to 2 oral sessions and will sponsor several poster sessions.


Symposium - 091/R (Room Marriott Salon E). The Origin of Microbial Species: 150 Years of Perspective

This session will be convened by Jeffrey G. Lawrence (Univ. of Pittsburgh) and David Guttman (Univ. of Toronto) at 2:30 pm on Monday, May 18, 2009.

In 1859, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, outlining how incremental change could accumulate among organisms within species, eventually leading to the creation of new lineages adapted to new environments. At the time, the physiology capabilities of microorganisms were mostly unexplored, and the profound differences in modes of inheritance from eukaryotes were entirely unknown. This session revisits species from the bacterial perspective. Beyond considering how to define or delineate bacterial species, we consider the process of speciation itself, whereby new, evolutionarily distinct lineages of bacteria arise. Here, we consider how differences in genetic systems – rates and necessity of recombination between individuals, barriers to homologous gene exchange, barriers (or lack thereof) of gene exchange between species, intraspecific diversity of gene inventory, and the position-specific gene exchange – both among bacteria and between bacteria and euka

ryotes translate into strikingly different roads to bacterial speciation than those considered by Darwin 150 years ago.

Presentations in this session include:

  • On the Nature and Origin of Archaeal Species - R. T. Papke -Univ. of Connecticutt, Storrs, CT
  • A Genomic View of Bacterial Species and Speciation - K. T. Konstantinidis - Georgia Inst. of Tech., Atlanta, GA
  • Recombination and Bacterial Speciation - W. Hanage - Imperial Coll. Sch. of Med., London, UNITED KINGDOM
  • Division R Lecture: Tempo and Mode of Bacterial Speciation - J. G. Lawrence - Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
NOTE: This session will be preceded by the annual division meeting to discuss matters of interest to the division.


Symposium - 311/R (Room 113A). Horizontal Gene Transfer and the Tree/Web of Life

This session will be convened by J. P. Gogarten (Univ. of Connecticutt) and K. Noll (Univ. of Connecticutt) at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, May 20, 2009.

The proposed session will address the question “How does gene transfer impact the tree/web of life?” This question became important with the realization that saturation with substitutions and gene transfer between divergent lineages not only may erode a phylogenetic signal due to shared ancestry, these processes also can lead to artifacts, which create a positively misleading signal indistinguishable from that generated by shared ancestry. The true history of life might not be discernible from systematic artifacts encountered in phylogenetic reconstruction and the best we might hope for are scenarios for plausible evolutionary trajectories. However, at present we are quite far from the point where such a pessimistic assessment regarding the tree/web of life is warranted. While the depiction of life’s history as a single bifurcating tree is incomplete at best, this should not be seen as a justification to give up on reconstructing life’s history. The origin of taxonomic units might not always be a bifurcating process, but this only means that non tree-like processes need to be included in reconstructing life''s history.

Presentations in this session include:

  • Is Protein Complexity a Barrier to Horizontal Gene Transfer? - U. Gophna - Tel-Aviv Univ., Tel-Aviv, ISRAEL
  • Horizontal Gene Transfer and the Evolution of Methanogenesis - G. Fournier - Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • Computationally Detecting Genomic Islands and Common Themes Regarding Their Role in Pathogen Evolution - F. S. L. Brinkman - Simon Fraser Univ., Burnaby, BC, CANADA
  • Barcodes for Genomes - Y. Xu - Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • Comparative Genomics Analysis of Horizontal Gene Transfer in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotic Microbes: A Fast Method and Its Use - T. Gaasterland - Univ. of California, La Jolla, CA


Poster Sessions

There are numerous exciting abstracts that have been submitted for this year's meeting. Posters will be available in the Poster Hall for the entire day that they are scheduled for presenation. The Presenting Author will be available to discuss the research at the indicated session time.

Presentation TimeSession Title
5/18/2009 - 10:45 am 047/R. Patterns and Processes of Microbial Evolution / Horizontal Gene Transfer
048/R. Mechanisms of Molecular Evolution
5/19/2009 10:45 am 147/R. Comparative and Evolutionary Genomics
5/19/2009 1:00 pm 184/R. Computational Genomics, Bioinformatics, and Databases
5/20/2009 10:45 am 257/R. Metagenomics
258/R. Symbiosis: Parasites, Commensals and Mutualists
259/R. Systematics, Taxonomy, and Culture Collections
260/R. Novel Organisms


Divison Night will be held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the Gand Hall from 7:30 - 9:00 pm on Tuesday, May 19. Be sure come join us.

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For more information send email to NWard@tigr.org

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