• actinomycete;
  • chromosomes;
  • linear;
  • topology;
  • Streptomyces;
  • Rhodococcus


Many chromosomes from Actinomycetales, an order within the Actinobacteria, have been sequenced over the last 10 years and the pace is increasing. This group of Gram-positive and high G+C% bacteria is economically and medically important. However, this group of organisms also is just about the only order in the kingdom Bacteria to have a relatively high proportion of linear chromosomes. Chromosome topology varies within the order according to the genera. Streptomyces, Kitasatospora and Rhodococcus, at least as chromosome sequencing stands at present, have a very high proportion of linear chromosomes, whereas most other genera seem to have circular chromosomes. This review examines chromosome topology across the Actinomycetales and how this affects our concepts of chromosome evolution.