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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jul 3;98(14):7940-5.

Genes linked by fusion events are generally of the same functional category: a systematic analysis of 30 microbial genomes.

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Bioinformatics Graduate Program and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Recent work in computational genomics has shown that a functional association between two genes can be derived from the existence of a fusion of the two as one continuous sequence in another genome. For each of 30 completely sequenced microbial genomes, we established all such fusion links among its genes and determined the distribution of links within and among 15 broad functional categories. We found that 72% of all fusion links related genes of the same functional category. A comparison of the distribution of links to simulations on the basis of a random model further confirmed the significance of intracategory fusion links. Where a gene of annotated function is linked to an unclassified gene, the fusion link suggests that the two genes belong to the same functional category. The predictions based on fusion links are shown here for Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, and another 661 predictions are available at

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