Symposium 66: Prokaryotic Diversity: Mechanisms and Significance
10 April 2006 publication
Edited by N.A. Logan, H.M. Lappin-Scott & P.C.F. Oyston.
Published April 2006 by Cambridge University Press.
The true extent of prokaryote diversity, encompassing the spectrum of variability among bacteria, remains unknown. Early discussions on prokaryote diversity were frequently devoted to sterile arguments about 'how much?' or 'how many?'. Increasingly, however, the focus is turning towards trying to understand why prokaryote diversification occurs, its underlying mechanisms, and its likely impact. The significance of such studies has a broad appeal and the popular scientific press frequently highlights such topics as the emergence of new diseases, the attribution of existing diseases to hitherto unrealised actions of prokaryotes and the activities of prokaryotes in key environmental processes. The dynamic nature of the prokaryotic world, and continuing advances in the technological tools available to this field of study, ensure that the latest story illustrating prokaryote diversity is never far away. This book will appeal to a wide variety of microbiologists. Its coverage ranges from studies of prokaryotes in specialised environmental niches to broad examinations of prokaryote evolution and diversity and the mechanisms underlying them. Topics include: bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract, unculturable organisms in the mouth and in the soil, the question of a link between chlamydia and heart disease, organisms from extreme environments, the diversity of archaea and their phages, comparative genomics and the emergence of pathogens, spread of genomic islands between clinical and environmental organisms, core genes, minimal genomes needed for life, horizontal gene transfer, genomic islands and the evolution of catabolic pathways, phenotypic innovation, and patterns and extent of biodiversity.