Universal replication biases in bacteria

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Analysis of 15 complete bacterial chromosomes revealed important biases in gene organization. Strong compositional asymmetries between the genes lying on the leading versus lagging strands were observed at the level of nucleotides, codons and, surprisingly, amino acids. For some species, the bias is so high that the sole knowledge of a protein sequence allows one to predict with almost no errors whether the gene is transcribed from one strand or the other. Furthermore, we show that these biases are not species specific but appear to be universal. These findings may have important consequences in our understanding of fundamental biological processes in bacteria, such as replication fidelity, codon usage in genes and even amino acid usage in proteins.

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