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J Mol Evol. 1995 Jul;41(1):15-23.

Supercoiling and map stability in the bacterial chromosome.

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Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


A major goal of comparative genomics is an understanding of the forces which control gene order. This assumes that gene order is important, a supposition backed by the existence of genomic colinearity between many related species. In the bacterial chromosome, a polarity in the order of genes has been suggested, influenced by distance and orientation relative to the origin of DNA replication. We propose a model of the bacterial chromosome in which gene order is maintained by the adaptation of gene expression to local superhelical context. This force acts not directly at the genomic level but rather at the local gene level. A full understanding of gene-order conservation must therefore come from the bottom up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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