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Science. 2006 Oct 13;314(5797):267.

The 160-kilobase genome of the bacterial endosymbiont Carsonella.

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Environmental Molecular Biology Laboratory, RIKEN, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Previous studies have suggested that the minimal cellular genome could be as small as 400 kilobases. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of the psyllid symbiont Carsonella ruddii, which consists of a circular chromosome of 159,662 base pairs, averaging 16.5% GC content. It is by far the smallest and most AT-rich bacterial genome yet characterized. The genome has a high coding density (97%) with many overlapping genes and reduced gene length. Genes for translation and amino acid biosynthesis are relatively well represented, but numerous genes considered essential for life are missing, suggesting that Carsonella may have achieved organelle-like status.

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