Microbiology: A genetic monster

    Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 6730–6734 (2008)

    A gargantuan bacterium carries tens of thousands of copies of its genome, researchers have found.

    One species of the cigar-shaped bacterium Epulopiscium lives in the intestines of the unicornfish Naso tonganus, and can grow to more than half a millimetre in length. Esther Angert of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and her colleagues have found that Epulopiscium cells also contain up to 250 picograms of DNA, compared with a human cell's 6 picograms, and have 50,000–120,000 copies of genes believed to occur only once in each genome.

    Other bacteria contain multiple copies of their genomes, but so far none has been found to have nearly as many as Epulopiscium.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Cite this article

    Microbiology: A genetic monster. Nature 453, 136–137 (2008) doi:10.1038/453136f

    Download citation

    Comments

    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.