The macronuclear genome of hypotrichous ciliates consists of DNA molecules of gene-sized length. A macronuclear DNA molecule contains a single coding region. We have analyzed the many hypotrich macronuclear DNA sequences sequenced by us and others. No highly conserved promoter sequences nor replication initiation sequences have been identified in the 5' nor in the 3' non-translated regions, suggesting that promoter function in hypotrichs may differ from other eukaryotes. The macronuclear genes are intron-poor; approximately 19% of the genes sequenced to date have one to three introns. Not all macronuclear DNA molecules may be transcribed; some macronuclear molecules may not have any coding function. Codon bias in hypotrichs is different in many respects from other ciliates and from other eukaryotes.
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