In the February 21 Nature, an international consortium of laboratories, led by the British Nobel laureate Paul Nurse, reports the complete sequence of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe (Nature 2002, 415:871-880).

The depth of sequence coverage was about eight-fold. The three chromosomes make up a 13.8 Mb genome, which is similar in size to that of the budding yeast S. cerevisiae, but considerably smaller than the other sequenced eukaryotic genomes (fruitfly, nematode worm, human and Arabidopsis). The authors predict a maximum of 4,940 protein coding genes, which is about six hundred less than S. cerevisiae and considerably less than the largest prokaryote genomes, emphasizing that the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic functions does not reside simply in the total number of genes.

The S. pombe genome is also less compact than that of S. cerevisiae, with one gene every 2.5 kb and longer...

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