|Microbial Genome Project Section
DOE Human Genome Program Contractor-Grantee Workshop
168. Insights into Evolution from the Thermotoga maritima Genome
K.E. Nelson, R.A. Clayton, O. White,
J.C. Venter, and C.M. Fraser
Thermotoga maritima is the most extreme thermophilic organotrophic bacterium known, and one of the earliest branching Eubacteria. This obligate anaerobe is capable of utilizing various carbohydrates, including glucose, maltose, starch, cellulose and xylan as energy sources. In an attempt to further understand T. maritima, a whole genome random shotgun sequencing project was initiated at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). The 1,860,725 bp T.maritima genome contains 1872 predicted coding regions, 54% (1005) of which have functional assignments, and 46% (867) of which are of unknown function. Of the sequenced Eubacteria, T. maritima has the highest percentage (24%) of genes that are most similar to archaeal genes. Eighty-one of these genes are clustered in regions of the genome that range in size from 4 - 20 kb. Five of these regions have a composition substantially different from the rest of the genome, suggesting that lateral gene transfer has occurred between the thermophilic Archaea and Eubacteria. In addition to repeat structures which can be identified only in thermophiles, there are 108 genes on the T. maritima genome that have orthologues only in the genomes of other thermophilic Eubacteria and Archaea. Along with a range of pathways for the degradation of both simple and complex carbohydrates, the T. maritima genome is revealing genes whose thermostable products may be useful for industrial processes. The genome sequence is also revealing similarities between the thermophilic Archaea and Eubacteria, and allowing us to address existing theories on evolution. The findings from an analysis of the complete genome sequence will be presented.
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