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Genome Streamlining in a Cosmopolitan Oceanic Bacterium

Science  19 Aug 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5738, pp. 1242-1245
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114057

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Abstract

The SAR11 clade consists of very small, heterotrophic marine α-proteobacteria that are found throughout the oceans, where they account for about 25% of all microbial cells. Pelagibacter ubique, the first cultured member of this clade, has the smallest genome and encodes the smallest number of predicted open reading frames known for a free-living microorganism. In contrast to parasitic bacteria and archaea with small genomes, P. ubique has complete biosynthetic pathways for all 20 amino acids and all but a few cofactors. P. ubique has no pseudogenes, introns, transposons, extrachromosomal elements, or inteins; few paralogs; and the shortest intergenic spacers yet observed for any cell.

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