The Institute for Genomic Research sequenced the first complete genome, that of the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae. A few months later, researchers there finished sequencing the smallest known genome, that of the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium.
Haemophilus influenzae causes respiratory and other infections and flu. The sequence of its 1,830,137 base-pair genome (a bit over 5 percent of the size of the human genome) revealed the complete instruction book of a free-living organism for the first time. Its successful sequencing also gave insights on efficient methods for sequencing.
Mycoplasma genitalium, with its minimalist genome, was considered an attractive organism to study for its simplicity. Its 580,070 base pairs of DNA and 470 predicted genes apparently represent a basic set of genes necessary for independent existence.
Fleischmann, R.D., Adams, M.D., White, O., Clayton, R.A., Kirkness, E.F., Kerlavage, A.R., Bult, C.J., et al. Whole-genome random sequencing and assembly of Haemophilus influenzae Rd. Science, 269: 496-512 1995. [PubMed]
Fraser, C.M., Gocayne, J.D., White, O., Adams, M.D., Clayton, R.A., Fleischmann, R.D., Bult, C.J., et al. The minimal gene complement of Mycoplasma genitalium. Science, 270: 397-403, 1995. [PubMed]
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Last Updated: May 9, 2013