The genome of Porphyromonas gingivalis, the bacterium that causes periodontitis or gum disease, has been fully sequenced by a team from The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Maryland in collaboration with The Forsyth Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Dennis Mangan and colleagues who completed the work decided to make the genome freely available to researchers worldwide by releasing it on the Comprehensive Microbial Resource website. The site is a tool that allows researchers to access all of the bacterial genome sequences completed to date.

The P. gingivalis genome contains 2.3 million DNA base pairs forming 2226 genes, many of which are involved in protein synthesis and energy metabolism. The sequence provides for the first time genetic information on an organism from a major group of bacteria not previously genotyped: the bacteroides group of gram-negative anaerobes. Mangan et al said that with the genetic blueprint for P. gingivalis in hand,...

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