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Genome Sequencing Microbiology has entered the realm of genome sequencing This biological revolution is opening up new dimensions in our view of life In 1995 a report on the entire DNA sequence for the genome of the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae was published Although the genomes for a number of viruses had been completed before this H influenzae was the first free-living organism to have its genome sequenced and as such this report remains a biological milestone Since then the entire genome sequences for over 10 microorganisms have been compiled and released and more are on their way The completed microbial genomes include Haemophilus influenzaefinished 1995 Mycoplasma genitaliumfinished 1995 Methanococcus jannaschiifinished 1996 Synechocystis spfinished 1996 Mycoplasma pneumoniaefinished 1996 Saccharomyces cerevisiaefinished 1997 Helicobacter pylorifinished 1997 Escherichia colifinished 1997 Bacillus subtilisfinished 1997 Archaeoglobus fulgidusfinished 1997 The benefits of complete genome sequencing projects include a greater understanding of the organisms being sequenced and acknowledgment of the minimum complement of genes necessary for a free-living organism Of the organisms that have already had their genomes sequenced a number are of particular importance For example Mycoplasma genitalium has a complete nucleotide sequence that is only 580070 base pairs long and as such is believed to be the smallest genome of any free-living organism Because of its unique size this genome presents a way of studying a minimal functional gene set In addition complete genome sequencing projects are currently being carried out on a number of microbial pathogens in an attempt to better understand them The inference of molecular structures in particular genome sequences have direct practical consequences in clinical microbiology Data and analyses of clinically important microorganisms are being used to develop molecular diognostics as well as to guide research in the nature of these organisms Information obtained from sequencing is also being used to provide enzymes for biotechnical and industrial applications The impact that genome sequencing has had and will have on our view of life
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