Prokaryotic genomes: the emerging paradigm of genome-based microbiology

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1997 Dec;7(6):757-63. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(97)80037-8.


Comparative analysis of the complete sequences of seven bacterial and three archaeal genomes leads to the first generalizations of emerging genome-based microbiology. Protein sequences are, generally, highly conserved, with -70% of the gene products in bacteria and archaea containing ancient conserved regions. In contrast, there is little conservation of genome organization, except for a few essential operons. The most striking conclusions derived by comparison of multiple genomes from phylogenetically distant species are that the number of universally conserved gene families is very small and that multiple events of horizontal gene transfer and genome fusion are major forces in evolution.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / classification
  • Archaea / genetics
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Databases, Factual
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genes, Archaeal*
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Phylogeny