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Open Access

Short segmental duplication: parsimony in growth of microbial genomes

Genome Biology20034:P7

https://doi.org/10.1186/gb-2003-4-9-p7

Received: 1 August 2003

Published: 4 August 2003

Abstract

We compare the distributions of occurrence frequencies of oligonucleotides two to ten bases long (2 to 10-mers) in microbial complete genomes with corresponding distributions obtained from random sequences and find that the genomic distributions are uniformly many times wider in a universal manner, that is, the same for all microbial complete genomes. The difference increases with decreasing word length, with the genomic spectral width about 40 times wider for 2-mers. We show that the observed genomic properties are characteristic of sequences generated in a simple growth model, where a very short initial random sequence (less than 1 kb) grows mainly by maximally stochastic duplication of short segments (of about 25 b). We discuss a number issues related to the findings and the model, including the proposition that life began in an RNA world before the birth of proteins.

Keywords

Random SequenceSegmental DuplicationModel SequenceMicrobial GenomeNeisseria Meningitidis

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