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Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 May 15;26(10):2286-90.

Analyzing genomes with cumulative skew diagrams.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics, Ihnestrasse 73, 14195 Berlin, Germany.


A novel method of cumulative diagrams shows that the nucleotide composition of a microbial chromosome changes at two points separated by about a half of its length. These points coincide with sites of replication origin and terminus for all bacteria where such sites are known. The leading strand is found to contain more guanine than cytosine residues. This fact is used to predict origin and terminus locations in other bacterial and archaeal genomes. Local changes, visible as diagram distortions, may represent recent genome rearrangements, as demonstrated for two strains of Escherichia coli . Analysis of the diagrams of viral and mitochondrial genomes suggests a link between the base composition bias and the time spent by DNA in a single stranded state during replication.

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