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The connectivity of a gene, defined as the number of interactions a gene's product has with other genes' products, is a key characteristic of a gene. In prokaryotes, the complexity hypothesis predicts that genes which undergo more frequent horizontal transfer will be less connected than genes which are only very rarely transferred. We tested the role of horizontal gene transfer, and other potentially important factors, by examining the connectivity of chromosomal and plasmid genes, across 134 diverse prokaryotic species. We found that (i) genes on plasmids were less connected than genes on chromosomes; (ii) connectivity of plasmid genes was not correlated with plasmid mobility; and (iii) the sociality of genes (cooperative or private) was not correlated with gene connectivity.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Publication Date