Archaeoglobus fulgidus is the first sulphur-metabolizing organism to have its genome sequence determined. Its genome of 2,178,400 base pairs contains 2,436 open reading frames (ORFs). The information processing systems and the biosynthetic pathways for essential components (nucleotides, amino acids and cofactors) have extensive correlation with their counterparts in the archaeon Methanococcus jannaschii. The genomes of these two Archaea indicate dramatic differences in the way these organisms sense their environment, perform regulatory and transport functions, and gain energy. In contrast to M. jannaschii, A. fulgidus has fewer restriction-modification systems, and none of its genes appears to contain inteins. A quarter (651 ORFs) of the A. fulgidus genome encodes functionally uncharacterized yet conserved proteins, two-thirds of which are shared with M. jannaschii (428 ORFs). Another quarter of the genome encodes new proteins indicating substantial archaeal gene diversity.