Re: NEWS: D. radiodurans genome sequenced

Robert J. Bradbury (
Fri, 19 Nov 1999 12:40 EST

Well, I haven't managed to download this page yet, >>,1349,32621,00.html one of the trials of working in Russia.

But re:
> I heard Robert mention this at Extro 4 as being on his wish list.

The sequence has been "complete" since ~1998. I believe I even found a rough copy on TIGR ( at one point, but it seems to be gone now. You can do Blast searches on the TIGR database against D. radiodurans sequences so it is "kind of" finished.

There was some discussion of the work on the genome at the TIGR genome conference in Sept. Its a strange organism since it has 2-3 chromosomes (I keep seeing different numbers quoted). Most bacteria only have 1 chromosome, though they may have additional small plasmids.

It may be that they are having trouble finishing the complete sequence, because it has been known for some time that there are sequences of the D. radiodurans genome that are toxic to E. coli (probably even some of those involved in radiation tolerance). Those sequences are hard to clone and amplify and may therefore be difficult to get placed into the sequence.

There is a lot of work still to be done on this organism, but bit by bit we will begin to see how nature has implemented ECC for DNA. One thing that seems apparent is *lots* of redundancy.

D. radiodurans is interesting from the perspective of astrobiology and bioastronomy because it keeps being offered by proponents of the Panspermia hypothesis (that the Earth was "seeded") as an example of an organism that could cross interplanetary or perhaps even interstellar space. I believe there was some discussion of this in the PBS SETI series.