Genome reduction, as a top-down approach to obtain the minimal genetic information essential for a living organism, has been conducted with bacterial cells for decades. The most popular and well-studied cell models for genome reduction are Escherichia coli
strains. As the previous literature intensively introduced the genetic construction and application of the genome-reduced Escherichia coli
strains, the present review focuses the design principles and compares the reduced genome collections from the specific viewpoint of growth, which represents a fundamental property of living cells and is an important feature for their biotechnological application. For the extended simplification of the genomic sequences, the approach of experimental evolution and concern for medium optimization are newly proposed. The combination of the current techniques of genomic construction and the newly proposed methodologies could allow us to acquire growing Escherichia coli
cells carrying the extensively reduced genome and to address the question of what the minimal genome essential for life is.
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