Research Abstract


Generalist species drive microbial dispersion and evolution

2017年10月27日 Nature Communications 8 : 1162 doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01265-1 (2017)


Sira Sriswasdi, Ching-chia Yang and Wataru Iwasaki

Corresponding Authors

シラ シサワスディ
東京大学 大学院理学系研究科・チュラーロンコーン大学 医学部

岩崎 渉
東京大学 大学院理学系研究科・大学院新領域創成科学研究科・大気海洋研究所

Microbes form fundamental bases of every Earth ecosystem. As their key survival strategies, some microbes adapt to broad ranges of environments, while others specialize to certain habitats. While ecological roles and properties of such “generalists” and “specialists” had been examined in individual ecosystems, general principles that govern their distribution patterns and evolutionary processes have not been characterized. Here, we thoroughly identified microbial generalists and specialists across 61 environments via meta-analysis of community sequencing data sets and reconstructed their evolutionary histories across diverse microbial groups. This revealed that generalist lineages possess 19-fold higher speciation rates and significant persistence advantage over specialists. Yet, we also detected three-fold more frequent generalist-to-specialist transformations than the reverse transformations. These results support a model of microbial evolution in which generalists play key roles in introducing new species and maintaining taxonomic diversity.