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1.  Trends in Prokaryotic Evolution Revealed by Comparison of Closely Related Bacterial and Archaeal Genomes ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;191(1):65-73.
In order to explore microevolutionary trends in bacteria and archaea, we constructed a data set of 41 alignable tight genome clusters (ATGCs). We show that the ratio of the medians of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rates (dN/dS) that is used as a measure of the purifying selection pressure on protein sequences is a stable characteristic of the ATGCs. In agreement with previous findings, parasitic bacteria, notwithstanding the sometimes dramatic genome shrinkage caused by gene loss, are typically subjected to relatively weak purifying selection, presumably owing to relatively small effective population sizes and frequent bottlenecks. However, no evidence of genome streamlining caused by strong selective pressure was found in any of the ATGCs. On the contrary, a significant positive correlation between the genome size, as well as gene size, and selective pressure was observed, although a variety of free-living prokaryotes with very close selective pressures span nearly the entire range of genome sizes. In addition, we examined the connections between the sequence evolution rate and other genomic features. Although gene order changes much faster than protein sequences during the evolution of prokaryotes, a strong positive correlation was observed between the “rearrangement distance” and the amino acid distance, suggesting that at least some of the events leading to genome rearrangement are subjected to the same type of selective constraints as the evolution of amino acid sequences.
PMCID: PMC2612427  PMID: 18978059
2.  ATGC: a database of orthologous genes from closely related prokaryotic genomes and a research platform for microevolution of prokaryotes 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(Database issue):D448-D454.
The database of Alignable Tight Genomic Clusters (ATGCs) consists of closely related genomes of archaea and bacteria, and is a resource for research into prokaryotic microevolution. Construction of a data set with appropriate characteristics is a major hurdle for this type of studies. With the current rate of genome sequencing, it is difficult to follow the progress of the field and to determine which of the available genome sets meet the requirements of a given research project, in particular, with respect to the minimum and maximum levels of similarity between the included genomes. Additionally, extraction of specific content, such as genomic alignments or families of orthologs, from a selected set of genomes is a complicated and time-consuming process. The database addresses these problems by providing an intuitive and efficient web interface to browse precomputed ATGCs, select appropriate ones and access ATGC-derived data such as multiple alignments of orthologous proteins, matrices of pairwise intergenomic distances based on genome-wide analysis of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution rates and others. The ATGC database will be regularly updated following new releases of the NCBI RefSeq. The database is hosted by the Genomics Division at Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory and is publicly available at
PMCID: PMC2686458  PMID: 18845571

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