The gene density of eukaryotic nuclear genomes is generally low relative to prokaryotes, but several eukaryotic lineages (many parasites or endosymbionts) have independently evolved highly compacted, gene-dense genomes. The best studied of these are the microsporidia, highly adapted fungal parasites, and the nucleomorphs, relict nuclei of endosymbiotic algae found in cryptomonads and chlorarachniophytes. These systems are now models for the effects of compaction on the form and dynamics of the…
July 2005 archive
Microsporidia have been known for some time to possess among the smallest genomes of any eukaryote. There is now a completely sequenced microsporidian genome, as well as several other large-scale sequencing efforts, so the nature of these genomes is becoming apparent. This paper reviews some of the characteristics of microsporidian genomes in general, and some of the recent discoveries made through comparative genomic analyses. In general, microsporidian genomes are both reduced and compacted….