Open Access Research article

Different patterns of evolution for duplicated DNA repair genes in bacteria of the Xanthomonadales group

Marinalva Martins-Pinheiro1, Rodrigo S Galhardo1, Claudia Lage2, Keronninn M Lima-Bessa1, Karina A Aires1 and Carlos FM Menck1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes 1374, São Paulo, 05508-900, SP, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Radiobiologia Molecular, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Bloco G, Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21949-900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2004, 4:29  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-4-29

Published: 27 August 2004



DNA repair genes encode proteins that protect organisms against genetic damage generated by environmental agents and by-products of cell metabolism. The importance of these genes in life maintenance is supported by their high conservation, and the presence of duplications of such genes may be easily traced, especially in prokaryotic genomes.


The genome sequences of two Xanthomonas species were used as the basis for phylogenetic analyses of genes related to DNA repair that were found duplicated. Although 16S rRNA phylogenetic analyses confirm their classification at the basis of the gamma proteobacteria subdivision, differences were found in the origin of the various genes investigated. Except for lexA, detected as a recent duplication, most of the genes in more than one copy are represented by two highly divergent orthologs. Basically, one of such duplications is frequently positioned close to other gamma proteobacteria, but the second is often positioned close to unrelated bacteria. These orthologs may have occurred from old duplication events, followed by extensive gene loss, or were originated from lateral gene transfer (LGT), as is the case of the uvrD homolog.


Duplications of DNA repair related genes may result in redundancy and also improve the organisms' responses to environmental challenges. Most of such duplications, in Xanthomonas, seem to have arisen from old events and possibly enlarge both functional and evolutionary genome potentiality.

DNA repair; evolution; horizontal transfer; paralogs.