Essential genes are those genes indispensable for the survival of any living cell. Bacterial essential genes constitute the cornerstones of synthetic biology and are often attractive targets in the development of antibiotics and vaccines. Because identification of essential genes with wet-lab ways often means expensive economic costs and tremendous labor, scientists changed to seek for alternative way of computational prediction. Aiming to help to solve this issue, our research group (CEFG: group of Computational, Comparative, Evolutionary and Functional Genomics, http://cefg.uestc.edu.cn) has constructed three online services to predict essential genes in bacterial genomes. These freely available tools are applicable for single gene sequences without annotated functions, single genes with definite names, and complete genomes of bacterial strains. To ensure reliable predictions, the investigated species should belong to the same family (for EGP) or phylum (for CEG_Match and Geptop) with one of the reference species, respectively. As the pilot software for the issue, predicting accuracies of them have been assessed and compared with existing algorithms, and note that all of other published algorithms have not any formed online services. We hope these services at CEFG will help scientists and researchers in the field of essential genes.
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We thank the book editor for his encouragement and advice. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 31470068), Sichuan Youth Science and Technology Foundation of China (grant number 2014JQ0051) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (grant number ZYGX2013J101).
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