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Entropy 2011, 13(8), 1465-1480; doi:10.3390/e13081465
Article

Size of the Whole versus Number of Parts in Genomes

1,4
, 2
, 3
 and 4,*
1 Departament de Lingüística General, Universitat de Barcelona, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 585, 08007 Barcelona (Catalonia), Spain 2 LARCA Research Group, Complexity and Quantitative Linguistics Lab, Departament de Llenguatges i Sistemes Informàtics, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Campus Nord, Edifici Omega, Jordi Girona Salgado 1-3, 08034 Barcelona (Catalonia), Spain 3 Departament de Microbiologia, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 645, 08028 Barcelona (Catalonia), Spain 4 Complexity and Quantitative Linguistics Lab, Departament de Llenguatges i Sistemes Informàtics, TALP Research Center, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Campus Nord, Edifici Omega, Jordi Girona Salgado 1-3, 08034 Barcelona (Catalonia), Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 July 2011 / Revised: 22 July 2011 / Accepted: 28 July 2011 / Published: 5 August 2011
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Abstract

It is known that chromosome number tends to decrease as genome size increases in angiosperm plants. Here the relationship between number of parts (the chromosomes) and size of the whole (the genome) is studied for other groups of organisms from different kingdoms. Two major results are obtained. First, the finding of relationships of the kind “the more parts the smaller the whole” as in angiosperms, but also relationships of the kind “the more parts the larger the whole”. Second, these dependencies are not linear in general. The implications of the dependencies between genome size and chromosome number are two-fold. First, they indicate that arguments against the relevance of the finding of negative correlations consistent with Menzerath-Altmann law (a linguistic law that relates the size of the parts with the size of the whole) in genomes are seriously flawed. Second, they unravel the weakness of a recent model of chromosome lengths based upon random breakage that assumes that chromosome number and genome size are independent.
Keywords: Menzerath-Altmann law; genome size; chromosomes Menzerath-Altmann law; genome size; chromosomes
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Hernández-Fernández, A.; Baixeries, J.; Forns, N.; Ferrer-i-Cancho, R. Size of the Whole versus Number of Parts in Genomes. Entropy 2011, 13, 1465-1480.

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