DATABASES: Gathering Organelle Genomes

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Science  02 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5544, pp. 963
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5544.963a

Chloroplasts and mitochondria are houseguests that never left. The descendants of bacteria that moved into eukaryotic cells more than a billion years ago, these organelles—which capture sunlight and turn food into energy—still have their own genomes. Visitors to Organelle Genome Resources, sponsored by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, can search complete genome sequences in NCBI's GenBank—a growing list that now stands at 218 mitochondria and 21 chloroplasts.

Taxonomic coverage emphasizes animals but also includes plants, fungi, and protists, as well as all the model organisms. Besides genome sequences, you can also access annotated chromosome maps, protein sequences, and PubMed links to the original publications. Other links lead to more organelle databases, such as Emory University's Mitomap collection of human mitochondrial DNA mutations and polymorphisms.

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