DATABASES: Bug Genealogy

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Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1285
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5778.1285c

Ribosomal RNA genes, which code for part of the cell's protein-producing machinery, have changed little over time, and researchers use them to tease out the relationships among bacterial species. The recently upgraded Ribosomal Database Project, hosted by Michigan State University in East Lansing, houses more than 200,000 partial and complete gene sequences for the small subunit of the 16S ribosomal RNA. You can search the sequences by size, strain, and the organism's source. If you've got a gene to analyze, tools can help you find out where your bug fits on the bacterial evolutionary tree and identify its closest kin.

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