Sequencing and analysis of bacterial genomes

Eugene V. Koonin, Arcady R. Mushegian, Kenneth E. Rudd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


The complete sequences of two small bacterial genomes have recently become available, and those of several more species should follow within the next two years. Sequence comparisons show that the most bacterial proteins are highly conserved in evolution, allowing predictions to be made about the functions of most products of an uncharacterized genome. Bacterial genomes differ vastly in their gene repertoires. Although genes for components of the translation and transcription machinery, and for molecular chaperones, are typically maintained, many regulatory and metabolic systems are absent in bacteria with small genomes. Mycoplasma genitalium, with the smallest known genome of any cellular life form, lacks virtually all known regulatory genes, and its gene expression may be regulated differently than in other bacteria. Genome organization is evolutionarily labile: extensive gene shuffling leaves only very few conserved gene arrays in distantly related bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-416
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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