Lateral gene transfer (LGT) is the movement of DNA between diverse organisms other than via vertical transmission. LGT is synonymous with horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Recognized within the bacteria domain of life for decades8, 11 inter-domain transfers are increasingly described1,2,3,4,6,7,9,10,13, particularly between bacteria and complex multicellular organisms. With the sequencing of more endosymbiont-colonized arthropods,5,14 the growing appreciation for the prevalence of recent LGT events,11 along with indication of medically significant gene transfers,13 the interest in identifying LGT events is only likely to increase over the coming years. Standard methods for identifying all LGTs must be made available that consider the likelihood of contamination while not being so stringent as to perform genome cleansing of all but older, functional LGTs. Through funding by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF), our analysis tools are being made available for genomic LGT analysis:

LGT Seek LGTSeek

LGT View LGTView

Twin Blast TwinBLAST

These analysis tools have been designed (LGTSeek and LGTView) or modified (TwinBLAST) such that the bioinformatically savvy as well as naive users can adopt them to their particular project and infrastructure. As big computing is expensive, the analysis runs are time consuming, and the resources necessary to run genome level analyses are not readily available to all researchers, the tools offered here do not require the user to have massive computational resources. The individual’s raw or processed data will not be hosted. Rather, the user maintains control over, and responsibility for, their data as the virtual machine (VM) is run on local machines, institutional grids/clusters, and on cloud infrastructures such as the Amazon EC2. With some knowledge about the donor and/or recipient genome, the integration of recent DNA can be detected.


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