Research NewsGenome Meeting

Seeking Life's Bare (Genetic) Necessities

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Science  24 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5265, pp. 1098-1099
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5265.1098


Cold Spring Harbor, New York—At the recent genome meeting here, researchers homed in on a fundamental question: What's the minimum number of genes needed for a simple organism to survive? Two presentations used contrasting approaches and came up with only slightly different estimates. One group found that 250 genes is the minimum for a modern organism, while another team estimated that 800 genes is enough to do the job.