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Topic 14.pdf

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BIOL 240
Josh Neufeld

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Fundamentals of Microbiology Biology 140 Course notes Dr Josh D Neufeld Topic 14Learning ObjectivesTo appreciate how rRNA gene sequences and polyphasic approaches have contributed to modern taxonomy and begin to understand the mechanisms used to differentiate between microbial species How can we reliably measure the evolutionary distance or phylogenetic relationship between two organisms First remember that genomes are continually mutating and evolving This involves continual changes in DNA sequence If two organisms had a common ancestor the difference in their genome sequence would be an indication of their evolutionary relatedness It is not practical to compare organisms at the level of the entire genome but fortunately comparison of entire genomes is not necessary to infer evolutionary relatedness It is sufficient to compare homologous sequences or molecular chronometers that are found in both of the organisms Genes encoding rRNA Figure 1611 are some of the best such sequences in large part because all organisms have rRNA and rRNA has the same function in all organismsAlthough 5S rRNA 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA molecules can each be used for the determination of phylogenetic relationship between organisms it is the 16S rRNAsmall subunit
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