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      Conserved gene clusters in bacterial genomes provide further support for the primacy of RNA.

      Journal of Molecular Evolution
      Archaea, genetics, Bacillus subtilis, Base Sequence, Conserved Sequence, Cyanobacteria, Escherichia coli, Genes, Bacterial, Genome, Bacterial, Haemophilus influenzae, Multigene Family, Mycoplasma, RNA, Bacterial

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          Abstract

          Five complete bacterial genome sequences have been released to the scientific community. These include four (eu)Bacteria, Haemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasma genitalium, M. pneumoniae, and Synechocystis PCC 6803, as well as one Archaeon, Methanococcus jannaschii. Features of organization shared by these genomes are likely to have arisen very early in the history of the bacteria and thus can be expected to provide further insight into the nature of early ancestors. Results of a genome comparison of these five organisms confirm earlier observations that gene order is remarkably unpreserved. There are, nevertheless, at least 16 clusters of two or more genes whose order remains the same among the four (eu)Bacteria and these are presumed to reflect conserved elements of coordinated gene expression that require gene proximity. Eight of these gene orders are essentially conserved in the Archaea as well. Many of these clusters are known to be regulated by RNA-level mechanisms in Escherichia coli, which supports the earlier suggestion that this type of regulation of gene expression may have arisen very early. We conclude that although the last common ancestor may have had a DNA genome, it likely was preceded by progenotes with an RNA genome.

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