Dynamic evolution of genomes and the concept of genome space

Matthew I. Bellgard, Takeshi Itoh, Hidemi Watanabe, Tadashi Imanishi, Takashi Gojobori*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A new era in the elucidation of genome evolution has been heralded with the availability of numerous genome sequences. With these data, it has been possible to study evolutionary processes at a greater level of detail in order to characterize features such as gene shuffling, genome rearrangements, base bias composition, and horizontal gene transfer. In this paper, we discuss the evolutionary implications of significant rearrangements within genomes as well as characteristic genomic regions that have been conserved across genomes. This is based on our analysis of orthologous and paralogous genes. We argue that genome plasticity has most likely contributed substantially to the dynamic evolution of genomes. We also describe the characteristic mosaic features of an archaea genome that is comprised of both bacterial and eukaryal elements. Here we investigate base compositional differences as well as the similarity of this species' genes to either bacteria or eukarya. We conclude that these features can be largely explained by the mechanism of horizontal gene transfer. Finally, we introduce the concept of genome space which is defined as the entire set of genomes of all living organisms. We explain its usefulness to describe as well as to gain deeper insight into the general features of the dynamic genomic evolutionary process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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