Status of genome projects for nonpathogenic bacteria and archaea

Karen E. Nelson*, Ian T. Paulsen, John F. Heidelberg, Claire M. Fraser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Since the first microbial genome was sequenced in 1995, 30 others have been completed and an additional 99 are known to be in progress. Although the early emphasis of microbial genomics was on human pathogens for obvious reasons, a significant number of sequencing projects have focused on nonpathogenic organisms, beginning with the release of the complete genome sequence of the archaeon Methanococcus jannaschii in 1996. The past 18 months have seen the completion of the genomes of several unusual organisms, including Thermotoga maritima, whose genome reveals extensive potential lateral transfer with archaea; Deinococcus radiodurans, the most radiation-resistant microorganism known; and Aeropyrum pernix, the first Crenarchaeota to be completely sequenced. Although the functional characterization of genomic data is still in its initial stages, it is likely that microbial genomics will have a significant impact on environmental, food, and industrial biotechnology as well as on genomic medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1054
Number of pages6
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number10 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioinformatics
  • Biotechnology
  • Functional genomics
  • Genomics
  • Prokaryotes


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