Journal Article (Refereed)
Rapid diversification by recombination in Bartonella grahamii from wild rodents in Asia contrasts with low levels of genomic divergence in Northern Europe and America
Birtles, R 2010, 'Rapid diversification by recombination in Bartonella grahamii from wild rodents in Asia contrasts with low levels of genomic divergence in Northern Europe and America', Mol Ecol, 19(11), pp.2241-2255.
Bartonella is a genus of vector-borne bacteria that infect the red blood cells of mammals, and includes several human-specific and zoonotic pathogens. Bartonella grahamii has a wide host range and is one of the most prevalent Bartonella species in wild rodents. We studied the population structure, genome content and genome plasticity of a collection of 26 B. grahamii isolates from 11 species of wild rodents in seven countries. We found strong geographic patterns, high recombination frequencies and large variations in genome size in B. grahamii compared with previously analysed cat- and human-associated Bartonella species. The extent of sequence divergence in B. grahamii populations was markedly lower in Europe and North America than in Asia, and several recombination events were predicted between the Asian strains. We discuss environmental and demographic factors that may underlie the observed differences.