DNA/DNA microarray hybridization was used to compare the genome content of Streptomyces avermitilis, Streptomyces cattleya, Streptomyces maritimus and Kitasatospora aureofaciens with that of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). The array data showed an about 93% agreement with the genome sequence data available for S. avermitilis and also showed a number of trends in the genome structure for Streptomyces and closely related Kitasatospora. A core central region was well conserved, which might be predicted from previous research and this was linked to a low degree of gene conservation in the terminal regions of the linear chromosome across all four species. Between these regions there are two areas of intermediate gene conservation by microarray analysis where gene synteny is still detectable in S. avermitilis. Nonetheless, a range of conserved genes could be identified within the terminal regions. Variation in the genes involved in differentiation, transcription, DNA replication, etc. provides interesting insights into which genes in these categories are generally conserved and which are not. The results also provide target priorities for possible gene knockouts in a group of bacteria with a very large numbers of genes with unknown functions compared to most bacterial species.
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