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Bacterial genes

Researchers are studying the genes of harmful bacteria in order to help them design new antibiotics: medicines that kill bacteria. Bacterial genes can also help explain how our own genes work. Compared to the human genome, the genomes for bacteria are tiny: just a couple of million base pairs long. Scientists have sequenced several entire bacterial genomes already, starting with the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae in 1995.

Electron micrograph of Haemophilus influenzae bacteria (yellow).
Electron micrograph of Haemophilus influenzae bacteria (yellow).
Dr Tony Brain/Science Photo Library

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