The 4,639,221-base pair sequence of Escherichia coli K-12 is presented. Of 4288 protein-coding genes annotated, 38 percent have no attributed function. Comparison with five other sequenced microbes reveals ubiquitous as well as narrowly distributed gene families; many families of similar genes within E. coli are also evident. The largest family of paralogous proteins contains 80 ABC transporters. The genome as a whole is strikingly organized with respect to the local direction of replication; guanines, oligonucleotides possibly related to replication and recombination, and most genes are so oriented. The genome also contains insertion sequence (IS) elements, phage remnants, and many other patches of unusual composition indicating genome plasticity through horizontal transfer.
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