News of the WeekGenomics

Painting a Picture of Genome Evolution

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Science  14 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5537, pp. 1969-1970
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5537.1969a

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A new analysis of the genome sequences of two bacteria shows that genes can be lost as well as gained during evolution. Even more intriguingly, the work provides snapshots capturing gene decay in the act and thus illuminates the actual genomic changes that occurred over tens of millions of years of evolution. The research, which is described on page 2093, focuses on two pathogenic bacteria: Rickettsia conorii, the culprit in Mediterranean spotted fever, and R. prowazekii, which causes typhus.