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Volume 1 (2005), Issue 5, Pages 335-346
Research Article

Identification of replication origins in archaeal genomes based on the Z-curve method

1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Tianjin Cancer Institute and Hospital, Tianjin 300060, China
2Department of Physics, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China

Received 15 July 2004; Accepted 31 August 2004

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Z-curve is a three-dimensional curve that constitutes a unique representation of a DNA sequence, i.e., both the Z-curve and the given DNA sequence can be uniquely reconstructed from the other. We employed Z-curve analysis to identify one replication origin in the Methanocaldococcus jannaschii genome, two replication origins in the Halobacterium species NRC-1 genome and one replication origin in the Methanosarcina mazei genome. One of the predicted replication origins of Halobacterium species NRC-1 is the same as a replication origin later identified by in vivo experiments. The Z-curve analysis of the Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 genome suggested the existence of three replication origins, which is also consistent with later experimental results. This review aims to summarize applications of the Z-curve in identifying replication origins of archaeal genomes, and to provide clues about the locations of as yet unidentified replication origins of the Aeropyrum pernix K1, Methanococcus maripaludis S2, Picrophilus torridus DSM 9790 and Pyrobaculum aerophilum str. IM2 genomes.