MOTIVATION: Establishment of intra-cellular life involved a profound re-configuration of the genetic characteristics of bacteria, including genome reduction and rearrangements. Understanding the mechanisms underlying these phenomena will shed light on the genome rearrangements essential for the development of an intra-cellular lifestyle. Comparison of genomes with differences in their sizes poses statistical as well as computational problems. Little efforts have been made to develop flexible computational tools with which to analyse genome reduction and rearrangements. RESULTS: Investigation of genome reduction and rearrangements in endosymbionts using a novel computational tool (GRAST) identified gathering of genes with similar functions. Conserved clusters of functionally related genes (CGSCs) were detected. Heterogeneous gene and gene cluster non-functionalization/loss are identified between genome regions, functional gene categories and during evolution. Results show that gene non-functionalisation has accelerated during the last 50 MY of Buchnera's evolution while CGSCs have been static.
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