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Researchers Sequence P. ubique; Bacterium Contains Less Junk DNA Than Other Organisms

NEW YORK, Aug. 18 (GenomeWeb News) - OregonStateUniversityinvestigators and colleagues have sequenced the smallest genome yet, that of the bacterium Pelagibacter ubique, which still contains biosynthetic genes for all 20 amino acids, while having the least known amount of junk DNA.


The researchers' report on the oceanic P. ubique's sequence appears in the current issue of Science.


The bacterium genome has 1,308,759 base pairs and lacks pseudogenes, introns, transposons, extrachromosomal elements, or intiens, according to the report. It also has few paralogs, and "the shortest intergenic spacers yet observed for any cell," the scientists wrote. The genome itself occupies approximately 30 percent of the typical cell of the bacterium.


Along with genes providing full biosynthetic pathways for the 20 amino acids, P. ubique can also manufacture "all but a few cofactors," the report said.


P. ubique is a heterotroph that lives suspended in the ocean, where it assimilates organic compounds and derives its energy by photosynthesis or respiration.

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