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Overlapping genes (OGs) represent one type of widespread genomic feature in bacterial genomes and have been used as rare genomic markers in phylogeny inference of closely related bacterial species. However, the inference may experience a decrease in performance for phylogenomic analysis of too closely or too distantly related genomes. Another drawback of OGs as phylogenetic markers is that they usually take little account of the effects of genomic rearrangement on the similarity estimation, such as intra-chromosome/genome translocations, horizontal gene transfer, and gene losses. To explore such effects on the accuracy of phylogeny reconstruction, we combine phylogenetic signals of OGs with collinear genomic regions, here called locally collinear blocks (LCBs). By putting these together, we refine our previous metric of pairwise similarity between two closely related bacterial genomes. As a case study, we used this new method to reconstruct the phylogenies of 88 Enterobacteriale genomes of the class Gammaproteobacteria. Our results demonstrated that the topological accuracy of the inferred phylogeny was improved when both OGs and LCBs were simultaneously considered, suggesting that combining these two phylogenetic markers may reduce, to some extent, the influence of gene loss on phylogeny inference. Such phylogenomic studies, we believe, will help us to explore a more effective approach to increasing the robustness of phylogeny reconstruction of closely related bacterial organisms.
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