Decoding the Minimal Genome

Supposedly, you can survive on only 473 genes - if you're a bacterium. But what do these genes actually do?
26 July 2019
Presented by Heather Jameson
Production by Heather Jameson.


blue DNA


Your genome contains all of your genetic information, and it's pretty long - the Human Genome Project estimated that humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes. But according to synthetic biology, you can survive on only 473! At least a very simple bacterium can. Of this “minimal genome”, scientists previously didn’t know what nearly a third actually did. But now a team at the University of Kent have published a study in Nature Communications saying they may have cracked 66 of the mystery genes. Heather Jameson spoke to author Mark Wass...


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