NEW YORK, March 4 (GenomeWeb News) - Researchers at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and the University of Basel have published the genome sequence of the pathogenic plant fungus Ashbya gossypii, the groups said today.
The organism, which infects agricultural crops such as cotton and citrus fruits, is believed to contain the smallest genome ever characterized among free-living eukaryotes, the researchers said.
A. gossypii's genome contains 9.2 million base pairs across seven chromosomes that encode 4,718 protein-coding genes, the researchers report in the March 4 Science Express, the online version of the Science. The fungus shares more than 90 percent of these genes with the yeast genome--with most occurring in a similar gene order, the scientists reported.
Led by Fred Dietrich, the researchers compared A. gossypii with yeast and found 300 instances of sequence inversion since the species diverged. The researchers also observed two copies of the majority of A. gossypii genes in the yeast genome, which they consider to be evidence that the evolution of S. cerevisiae included a whole genome duplication.