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The World in Medicine
July 8, 1998

TB Gene Code Revealed

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JAMA. 1998;280(2):125. doi:10.1001/jama.280.2.125

What has 4000 genes, more than 4 million base pairs, and a high guanine and cytosine content?

The genetic code of the world's most deadly infectious organism, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as reported by an international team of scientists in the June 11 issue of Nature. With 4411529 base pairs, the M tuberculosis genome is the second-largest bacterial genome ever deciphered, behind that of Escherichia coli. The research team, composed of scientists from the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, and the United States, sequenced the genome of the H37Rv strain of the tuberculosis (TB) bacterium, a commonly studied variety that is not highly infectious.

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