Up-to-date Bacterial Core Genes

What are UBCGs?

UBCGs, or Up-to-date Bacterial Core Genes, are a set of conserved, essential genes found in the genomes of most bacterial species. These genes serve as important molecular markers in microbiology and genomics. Here’s what UBCGs are and their significance:

Definition of UBCGs

UBCGs are a set of genes that are present as single copies in the majority of bacterial genomes. They are highly conserved, meaning their sequences do not vary significantly across bacterial species. These genes are typically essential for basic cellular functions, such as DNA replication, transcription, translation, and metabolism.

Importance of UBCGs

Phylogenetic Marker Genes: UBCGs are widely used as phylogenetic marker genes in microbial taxonomy and systematics. Due to their conservation across bacterial lineages, they provide a stable basis for inferring evolutionary relationships among bacteria.

Taxonomic Classification: UBCGs are employed to classify and identify bacteria at various taxonomic levels, from the domain (Bacteria) down to the species or strain level. The sequences of UBCGs are used for DNA barcoding and comparative genomics to assign newly sequenced organisms to known taxonomic groups.

Metagenomic Studies: UBCGs are valuable in metagenomics, where they serve as reference genes for assessing the taxonomic composition of complex microbial communities. By targeting these conserved genes in metagenomic sequencing data, researchers can identify and quantify the presence of different bacterial taxa.

Phylogenomic Analysis: UBCGs are used in phylogenomic studies to build robust phylogenetic trees that reflect the evolutionary history of bacteria. These trees provide insights into the diversification and relationships among bacterial lineages.


While UBCGs are powerful tools, there can be exceptions, as some highly specialized or reduced genomes may lack certain UBCGs. In such cases, researchers may need to consider additional genes or genomic features for accurate phylogenetic and taxonomic analyses.


In summary, UBCGs are a set of universally conserved, essential genes in bacterial genomes. They play a crucial role in bacterial taxonomy, phylogenetics, functional annotation, and metagenomics. By leveraging the stability and ubiquity of these genes, researchers can gain insights into the evolutionary relationships and functional potential of diverse bacterial species and communities.


Na, S. I., Kim, Y. O., Yoon, S. H., Ha, S. M., Baek, I., & Chun, J. (2018). UBCG: up-to-date bacterial core gene set and pipeline for phylogenomic tree reconstruction. Journal of Microbiology, 56, 280-285.

UBCG: Up-to-date bacterial core gene set and pipeline for phylogenomic tree reconstruction

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