Extreme Genome Reduction in Microbial Parasites (pp. 157-174)
Authors: (Claudio H. Slamovits, Centre for Comparative Genomics and Evolutionary Bioinformatics, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada)
Abstract: Many human microbial parasites have very small nuclear genomes, in some cases
smaller than the genomes of most bacteria. The consequences of this attribute for the
function, architecture and evolution of parasitic protists with minimal genomes, as well as
the implications for virulence and pathogenicity are just starting to be explored.
Microsporidia is a lineage of microbial parasites that has recently emerged as a natural
model to study genome reduction and compaction in eukaryotes. In this chapter,
microbial parasite genome evolution is discussed in the light of recent studies on
genomics and molecular biology of microsporidian parasites and other organisms, which
have shown that extreme genome compaction can have profound effects on cellular and
molecular functions such as metabolism and transcriptional regulation.