Topics in Current Genetics Volume 15, 2006, pp 233-285
Date: 02 Aug 2005

Schizosaccharomyces pombe comparative genomics; from sequence to systems

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The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is becoming increasingly important as a model for the characterization and study of many globally conserved genes, second only in importance to the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This chapter provides an updated inventory of gene number and genome contents for fission yeast compared to budding yeast. Functional and comparative genomics studies, and the insights these have provided into how the different genome contents of these two yeasts are manifested in their individual biologies are reviewed. Phylogenetic analysis, comparative genomics and experimental research support the choice of S. pombe as a model for the dissection of many biological processes, which are often more similar to the analogous processes in higher eukaryotes than those of the Saccharomytina. The review underlines the advantages of exploiting this organism through the integration of bench science, functional genomics, phylogenomics and systems biology in order to identify and interpret the minimal requirements for a eukaryotic cell.