Genomics: From Phage to Human

  • Eugene V. Koonin
  • Michael Y. Galperin


The first genome, that of RNA bacteriophage MS2, was sequenced in 1976, in a truly heroic feat of direct determination of an RNA sequence [225]. This was followed by the genome of bacteriophage ϕX174, the first triumph of the new, rapid sequencing methods developed in the laboratories of Walter Gilbert and Fred Sanger [553,743]. These are some of the smallest known genomes with only four and ten genes, respectively. Then, in 1982, the last paper published by Sanger before he retired, announced the first relatively large genome to be sequenced, that of bacteriophage λ, probably the most famous model system of classic molecular biology [742]. Phage λ has 48,502 bases of genomic DNA and ~70 known and predicted protein-coding genes and 23 RNA-coding genes. At 70 characters per line and 43 lines per page, this sequence alone would take over 16 pages of this book. However, the listing of the λ protein-coding genes (Table 1.1) fits into just two pages and definitely conveys more information. These days, it may be hard to imagine all the excitement felt by molecular biologists 20 years ago when the λ genome was finally finished.


Comparative Genomic Ureaplasma Urealyticum Debaryomyces Hansenii Brucella Melitensis Xylella Fastidiosa 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Further Reading

  1. 1.
    Doolittle RF. 1986. Of Urfs and Orfs: A primer on how to analyze derived amino acid sequences. University Science Books, San Diego.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cairns J, Stent GS, Watson JD. 1992. Phage and the Origins of Molecular Biology. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mount DW. 2000. Bioinformatics: Sequence and genome analysis. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Chapter 1.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Koonin EV, Dolja VV. 1993. Evolution and taxonomy of positive-strand RNA viruses: implications of comparative analysis of amino acid sequences. Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 28: 375–430.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene V. Koonin
    • 1
  • Michael Y. Galperin
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of HealthUSA

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