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The pangenome concept: a unifying view of genetic information.

Victor V Tetz

Med Sci Monit 2005; 11(7): HY24-29

ID: 16885

Available online: 2005-07-01

Published: 2005-07-01

A way of viewing the genetic information in all organisms on Earth as constituentsof the Pangenome is proposed. According to this concept, the Pangenome is the common (collective) geneticsystem of all living organisms, the organic molecules and their complexes (DNA- and RNA-containing viruses,plasmids, transposons, insertion sequences) involved in the storage and transmission processes of geneticinformation. Pangenomic stability and variability are discussed. This concept alerts to the inherentfluidity and transmissibility of DNA among organisms of all types, including horizontal gene transferbetween closely related and formally unrelated macro- and microorganisms. The roles of death and of allknown food chains as universal ways of gene distribution among different organisms are discussed. Thecontribution of bacteria and viruses in maintaining the circulation of genes within the Pangenome ispresented. This concept implies that newly emerging genes are not bound to disappear together with thedeath of an organism or the extinction of a species and microorganisms are the main pool of genes. Somenegative aspects of the intervention of molecular genetics, biotechnology, and ecology, including thespread of transgenic plants and animals, are summarized. It is shown that this concept may be used inmedicine for the prognosis of an epidemic situation, particularly newly spreading pathogens, and forthe development of new methods for the prophylaxis and early diagnosis of oncologic diseases. This conceptcan also help to find promising approaches to the discovery of drugs with novel principles of action.

Keywords: Animals, Evolution, Gene Transfer, Horizontal, Genome, Humans, Recombination, Genetic, Animals, Biological Evolution, Gene Transfer, Horizontal, Genome, Humans, Recombination, Genetic