Microbial minimalism: genome reduction in bacterial pathogens

Cell. 2002 Mar 8;108(5):583-6. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(02)00665-7.


When bacterial lineages make the transition from free-living or facultatively parasitic life cycles to permanent associations with hosts, they undergo a major loss of genes and DNA. Complete genome sequences are providing an understanding of how extreme genome reduction affects evolutionary directions and metabolic capabilities of obligate pathogens and symbionts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Base Composition
  • Biological Evolution
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Mutation
  • Open Reading Frames