Friday, October 13, 2006
The smallest collection of genes ever found for a cellular organism comes from tiny symbiotic bacteria that live inside special cells inside a small insect.
The bacteria Carsonella ruddii has the fewest genes of any cell. The bacteria's newly sequenced genome, the complete set of DNA for the organism, is only one-third the size of the previously reported "smallest" cellular genome.
"It's the smallest genome - not by a bit but by a long way," said co-author Nancy A. Moran, UA Regents' Professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. "It's very surprising. It's unbelievable, really. We would not have predicted such a small size. It's believed that more genes are required for a cell to work."
Carsonella ruddii has only 159,662 base-pairs of DNA, which translates to only 182 protein-coding genes, reports a team of scientists from The University of Arizona in Tucson and from Japan. [Evolution]
Continued at "Researchers Find Smallest Cellular Genome"
Based on the journal Science paper "The 160-Kilobase Genome of the Bacterial Endosymbiont Carsonella" (Abstract)
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