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Res Microbiol. 2007 Dec;158(10):754-66. Epub 2007 Oct 2.

Evolution of mollicutes: down a bumpy road with twists and turns.

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INRA Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, UMR 1090 Génomique Diversité Pouvoir Pathogène, BP 81, 71 avenue Edouard Bourlaux, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon cedex, France.


Mollicute evolution has been marked by significant changes in genome structure and use of their genetic information. These include a reduction in their genome G+C content and the use by most mollicutes of the UGA universal stop codon as tryptophan. More striking is the size reduction in their genome which, for some species, is now close to the minimal requirement for sustaining cell life. With the growing body of sequence data, a new picture has recently begun to emerge in which the evolution of these simple bacteria cannot be reduced to a race for the smallest genome.

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