Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Neolithic revolution of Bacterial genomes

Finally the most awaited article "The Neolithic revolition of bacterial genomes" has been accepted for publication in Trends in Microbiology.


Current human activities undoubtedly impact natural ecosystems. However, the influence of Homo sapiens on living organisms must have also occurred in the past. We show that certain genomic characteristics of prokaryotes can be used to study the impact of ancient human activities on microorganisms. By analysing DNA sequence similarity features of transposable elements we have identified dramatic genomic changes in bacteria associated with human populations, agriculture and farming, three activities unequivocally linked to the Neolithic Revolution. We hypothesize that bacteria specialised in human-associated niches underwent an intense transformation after the social and demographic changes that took place with the first neolithic settlements. These genomic changes are absent in related species that are not specialised in humans.


Mira A., Pushker R. and Rodríguez-Valera F. (2006) The Neolithic revolution of bacterial genomes. Trends in Microbiology, In press