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Genome of first fungal pathogen unveiled

0 times that of the Ashbya genome. In comparison, the genetic blueprints contained in each human cell run to some 6 billion DNA base pairs.

The researchers first sequenced the Ashbya genome three times over in many segments and assembled those pieces into the sequences of the fungus' seven chromosomes. The team then filled in any remaining gaps in the initial scaffold through additional sequencing. By comparing the sequence information to the yeast genome, the investigators identified the location of genes along the chromosomes.

Ashyba's 9.2 million base pair genome encodes 4,718 protein coding genes, the team reported. The fungus shares more than 90 percent of those with yeast, with most occurring in a similar gene order.

Further comparison of the Ashbya and yeast genomes revealed 300 instances of sequence inversion or movement of a segment from one location to another since the divergence of the two species. The analysis also revealed two copies of the majority of Ashbya genes in the yeast genome, evidence that the evolution of S. cerevisiae included a whole genome duplication.

The fully annotated sequence will be made publicly available on GenBank, the National Institutes of Health genetic sequence database.

"This is the culmination of the work of many people over more than 10 years," said Dietrich. "It's very satisfying to finally be able to make this data public." The support of Novartis hinged on an agreement that the data not be made public until the genome was complete, he said.


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Contact: Kendall Morgan
kendall.morgan@duke.edu
919-684-4148
Duke University Medical Center
4-Mar-2004


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