Twenty thousand ORFan microbial protein families for the biologist?

Naomi Siew, Daniel Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The genomes of most newly sequenced organisms contain a significant fraction of ORFs (open reading frames) that match no other sequence in the databases. We refer to these singleton ORFs as sequence ORFans. Because little can be learned about ORFans by homology, the origin and functions of ORFans remain a mystery. However, in this era of full genome sequencing, it seems that ORFans have been underemphasized. In this minireview, we draw attention to the increasing number of ORFans and to the consequences of this growth to biological research in the postgenomic era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-9
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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