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Paul Orwin

Steve is a very smart guy. I wonder if the correlation relates indirectly, rather than directly to size considerations. It may relate to the ability to absorb foreign DNA productively. It may also relate to the diversity of metabolic activities displayed. For example - antibiotic producers like Streptomyces have huge genomes, because they make lots of secondary metabolites with complex synthesis. They are multi-drug resistant because they make multiple drugs (and are in an antibiotic rich environment). Organisms in the same antibiotic rich environment, such as Pseudomonas, also make lots of secondary metabolites, and are good at picking up foreign DNA and incorporating it, for resistance as well as catabolic activity. Staph (which used to be Steve's favorite, and maybe still is) is a mosaic of integrated phage, so it has obviously also gotten good at tolerating and exploiting foreign DNA. This gets at the whole issue of what a microorganism's genome is...

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