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Trends Genet. 2009 Jun;25(6):243-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2009.04.004. Epub 2009 May 18.

Scaling laws in functional genome content across prokaryotic clades and lifestyles.

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Biozentrum, the University of Basel and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Klingelbergstrasse 50/70, 4056-CH, Basel, Switzerland.


For high-level functional categories that are represented in almost all prokaryotic genomes, the numbers of genes in these categories scale as power-laws in the total number of genes. We present a comprehensive analysis of the variation in these scaling laws across prokaryotic clades and lifestyles. For the large majority of functional categories, including transcription regulators, the inferred scaling laws are statistically indistinguishable across clades and lifestyles, supporting the simple hypothesis that these scaling laws are universally shared by all prokaryotes.

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