Tell-tale genes

Published: Wednesday 15 May 1996

Genome sequencing of Methanococcus jannaschii, at the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, US, has confirmed that this ancient-Iooking microorganism is not really a bacterium, but belongs to the phylogenetic family, Archaea (Science, VoI 271, No 5252).

Methanococcus jannaschii lives near hot sea vents in temperatures close to boiling point and replicates using only inorganic compounds. The TIGR team-Ieader Carol Bult said that they had decoded 1.7 million base pairs before reaching the conclusion that a large majority of the genes had no equivalent in other known organisms.

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