Skewed oligomers and origins of replication

Steven L. Salzberg, Alan J. Salzberg, Anthony R. Kerlavage, Jean Francois Tomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


The putative origin of replication in prokaryotic genomes can be located by a new method that finds short oligomers whose orientation is preferentially skewed around the origin. The skewed oligomer method is shown to work for all bacterial genomes and one of three archaeal genomes sequenced to date, confirming known or predicted origins in most cases and in three cases (H. pylori, M. thermoautotrophicum, and Synechocystis sp.), suggesting origins that were previously unknown. In many cases, the presence of conserved genes and nucleotide motifs confirms the predictions. An algorithm for finding these skewed seven-base and eight-base sequences is described, along with a method for combining evidence from multiple skewed oligomers to accurately locate the replication origin. Possible explanations for the phenomenon of skewed oligomers are discussed. Explanations are presented for why some bacterial genomes contain hundreds of highly skewed oligomers, whereas others contain only a handful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 14 1998


  • Comparative genomics
  • Computational methods
  • Sequence analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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