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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project


Biological Sciences


Horizontal gene transfer, Apicomplexa, Phylogenomy, Parametric approach, Phylogenomic approach, Plasmodium falciparum-Phylogeny, Genetic transformation, Apicomplexa-Phylogeny, Phylogeny, Parametric devices


Lateral gene transfer (LGT) has been extensively studied as a major contributor to the evolution of bacteria. However, it is only beginning to be considered vital in understanding the evolution of eukaryotes. Focusing on eukaryotic parasites, it would be interesting to understand the role of LGT in the ability of these parasites to successfully invade their host. An example of such a parasite is Plasmodium falciparum, an organism that causes malaria, leading to an enormous number of deaths each year. A comprehensive list of LGT genes detected in the genome of P. falciparum is the first step towards understanding the role of LGT in its parasitic capability. In this study, we present two approaches— parametric and the phylogenomic—used to identify genes that have been laterally transferred from bacteria or archaea into P.falciparum. The parametric method predicts LGT events by identifying areas of the genome that have unusual genomic composition (GC content) while the phylogenomic method predicts LGT events by analyzing the topology of gene trees and identifying trees that are not consistent with the species tree. Here, we compare the genes predicted by the two methods. In terms of GC content, we also provide the relationship between each predicted gene and its chromosomal neighbors




48 pages : color illustrations. Honors project, Smith College, 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 34-35)