Molecular Medicine Israel

Genome Digest – Meet the species whose DNA has recently been sequenced

Deadly E. coli


Species: Rare hemorrhage-causing strain of E. coli, O104:H4
Genome size: 5.2 million base pairs
Interesting fact: This strain of E. coli, which caused the recent deadly outbreak in Germany, is a new serotype not involved in any previous E. coli outbreaks. It has acquired several antibiotic resistance genes and specific genetic sequences involved in aggregation ability and virulence.

D. Li, et al., “Genomic data from Escherichia coli O104:H4 isolate TY-2482,” BGI Shenzhen, doi:10.5524/100001, 2011.


Endangered devil
Species: Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus harrisii
Genome size: 3.2 billion base pairs
Interesting fact: Tasmanian devils, which live in the wild only on theisland ofTasmania in Australia, have low genetic diversity within their population. This low diversity, however, preceded the Devil Facial Tumor Disease outbreak that has spread rapidly since it was first observed 15 years ago and now threatens the species with extinction.

W. Miller, et al., “Genetic diversity and population structure of the endangered marsupial Sarcophilus harrisii (Tasmanian devil),” PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1102838108, 2011.


A yeast trio

Yeast colonies

Species: Three yeasts— Saccharomyces bayanusS.kudriavzevii and S. mikatae
Genome size: 11 million base pairs each
Interesting fact: The five most commonly studied Saccharomyces yeast species share 5,261 protein-coding orthologs, making them a prime model organism to study the tempo and mechanisms of yeast gene evolution.

D. Scannell, et al., “The awesome power of yeast evolutionary genetics: new genome sequences and strain resources for the Saccharomyces sensu stricto genus,” g3 1:11-25, 2011.


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