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Science. 2016 Mar 25;351(6280):aad6253. doi: 10.1126/science.aad6253.

Design and synthesis of a minimal bacterial genome.

Author information

1
J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
2
National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
3
Synthetic Genomics, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
4
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA.
5
J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. Synthetic Genomics, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

Abstract

We used whole-genome design and complete chemical synthesis to minimize the 1079-kilobase pair synthetic genome of Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0. An initial design, based on collective knowledge of molecular biology combined with limited transposon mutagenesis data, failed to produce a viable cell. Improved transposon mutagenesis methods revealed a class of quasi-essential genes that are needed for robust growth, explaining the failure of our initial design. Three cycles of design, synthesis, and testing, with retention of quasi-essential genes, produced JCVI-syn3.0 (531 kilobase pairs, 473 genes), which has a genome smaller than that of any autonomously replicating cell found in nature. JCVI-syn3.0 retains almost all genes involved in the synthesis and processing of macromolecules. Unexpectedly, it also contains 149 genes with unknown biological functions. JCVI-syn3.0 is a versatile platform for investigating the core functions of life and for exploring whole-genome design.

Comment in

PMID:
27013737
DOI:
10.1126/science.aad6253
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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