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Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli is a gram negative, facultative anaerobic rod shaped bacterium that is a common inhabitant of the lower intestine of warm blooded animals including humans. Most strains of E. coli are non-pathogenic with some of them being beneficial to the host. Pathogenic strains cause food borne illness leading to complications like destruction of RBCs, damage to the blood vessels and sometimes even renal failure.
Classification

Domain: Eubacteria

Phylum: Proteobacteria

Class: Gammaproteobacteria

Order: Enterobacteriales

Family: Enterobacteriaceae

Genus: Escherichia

Species: coli
E. coli as a model organism
Escherichia coli is easy to grow and manipulate genetically. It has been extensively studied being suitable for microbiological and molecular biology investigations. It is considered as a "Workhorse of Biology". With a small genome and a low proportion represented as the intergenic sequences (IGS), a comprehensive exploration of the coding potential of all IGS in the genome is possible.
Sequencing efforts
The genome of Escherichia coli K12 MG1655 was sequenced by a team of scientists from five different labs – 1. Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin–Madison; 2. Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan School of Medicine; 3. FMC Bioproducts; 4. Marine Biological Laboratories, Woods Hole and 5. Centro de Investigación sobre Fijación de Nitrógeno, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. The entire genome was deposited in GenBank on 16th January 1997. The details were published by Blattner et al (1997). The genome sequences of 92 strains of E. coli are available in GenBank as on March 2011.
Genome Features
The whole genome of E. coli K12 MG1655 – the first strain to be sequenced and the subject of our investigation is 4,639,221 bp. It has a GC content of 50.8%. It has a total number 4,401 genes of which 4285 are protein coding and 116 are RNA coding. There are 2458 intergenic sequences in it's genome.

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