Measuring genome conservation across taxa: divided strains and united kingdoms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Paul Janssen
  • Victor Kunin
  • Dag Ahren
  • Leonid Goldovsky
  • Christos Ouzounis

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Species evolutionary relationships have traditionally been defined bysequencesimilarities of phylogenetic marker molecules, recently followed by wholegenome phylogenies based on gene order, average ortholog similarity or gene content. Here, we introduce genome conservation—a novel metric of evolutionary distances between species that simultaneously takes into account, both gene content and sequence similarity at the whole-genome level. Genome conservation represents a robust distance measure, as demonstrated by accurate phylogenetic reconstructions. The genome conservation matrix for all presently sequenced organisms exhibits a remarkable ability to define evolutionary relationships across all taxonomic ranges. An assessment of taxonomic ranks with genome conservation shows that certain ranks are inadequately described and raises the possibility for a more precise and quantitative taxonomy in the future. All phylogenetic reconstructions are available at thegenomephylogenyserver:


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-621
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2005


  • molecular phylogeny, whole genome taxonomy, genome conservation, bioinformatics, evolution

ID: 157782