Online Education Kit: 1996: Archaea Genome Sequenced

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


1996: Archaea Genome Sequenced

Photo of a laboratory mouseThe genome sequence of the microorganism Methanococcus jannaschii confirmed that there is a third main branch of life on Earth, along with prokaryotes (bacteria) and eukaryotes (fungi, protists, plants, and animals). The third branch is called Archaea. The group includes a diverse array of small cells that lack nuclei, like bacteria, but are genetically and evolutionarily distinct from bacteria. Preliminary comparisons between M. jannaschii and two completed bacterial (i.e. prokaryotic) genomes indicated that M. jannaschii has a large number of genes that are unlike any seen before.

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Reference:
Bult, C.J., White, O., Olsen, G.J., Zhou, L., Fleischmann, R.D., Sutton, G.G., Blake, J.A., et al. Complete genome sequence of the methanogenic archaeon, Methanococcus jannaschii. Science, 273:1058-73. 1996. [PubMed]

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Last Reviewed: May 9, 2013