The genome of Aspergillus oryzae, a fungus important for the production of traditional fermented foods and beverages in Japan, has been sequenced. The ability to secrete large amounts of proteins and the development of a transformation system1 have facilitated the use of A. oryzae in modern biotechnology2-4. Although both A. oryzae and Aspergillus flavus belong to the section Flavi of the subgenus Circumdati of Aspergillus, A. oryzae, unlike A. flavus, does not produce aflatoxin, and its long history of use in the food industry has proved its safety. Here we show that the 37-megabase (Mb) genome of A. oryzae contains 12,074 genes and is expanded by 7-9 Mb in comparison with the genomes of Aspergillus nidulans5 and Aspergillus fumigatus6. Comparison of the three aspergilli species revealed the presence of syntenic blocks and A. oryzae-specific blocks (lacking synteny with A. nidulans and A. fumigatus) in a mosaic manner throughout the genome of A. oryzae. The blocks of A. oryzae-specific sequence are enriched for genes involved in metabolism, particularly those for the synthesis of secondary metabolites. Specific expansion of genes for secretory hydrolytic enzymes, amino acid metabolism and amino acid/sugar uptake transporters supports the idea that A. oryzae is an ideal microorganism for fermentation.
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