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Eukaryotes: not beyond compare


Comparative genomics can be a powerful tool to study genome evolution, but in eukaryotes such studies have been limited owing to a lack of available complete genome sequences from organisms belonging to the same phylogenetic group. However, yeasts are ideal candidates for such comparative studies owing to the compact nature of their genomes, similar lifestyles and distinct sexual and physiological properties. In a recent publication, Dujon et al. studied evolution in the Hemiascomycete class using comparative analysis of the complete genome sequences of four yeast species, each representing various and distant branches among the hemiascomycetes.

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Figure 1: Photomicrograph showing a candidiasis infection of the oesophagus.
Figure 2: Schematic representation of the proposed major evolutionary events in hemiascomycete genomes.


  1. 1

    Dujon, B. et al. Genome evolution in yeasts. Nature 430, 35–44 (2004).

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  2. 2

    Cliften, P. et al. Finding functional features in Saccharomyces genomes by phylogenetic footprinting. Science 301, 71–76 (2003).

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    Kellis, M. et al. Sequencing and comparison of yeast species to identify genes and regulatory elements. Nature 423, 241–254 (2003).

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Related links

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Candida albicans

Candida glabrata

Debaryomyces hansenii

Kluyveromyces lactis

Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Yarrowia lipolytica


The Pathogen Sequencing Unit

Saccharomyces Genome Database

Candida DB

Broad Institute Fungal Genome Initiative

Tree of Life: Ascomycota

Comprehensive Yeast Genome Database

Encylopedia of Life Sciences


Fungal infections in humans

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Pain, A., Bentley, S. & Parkhill, J. Eukaryotes: not beyond compare. Nat Rev Microbiol 2, 856–857 (2004).

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