In 1962 Jacques Monod and Francois Jacob invented the operon model to explain regulation of transcription in bacteria. More recently, mainly due to the ‘omics’ revolution, we now know that things are not so tidy and ideal. For example, it is clear that pervasive transcription is widespread, and much of this may serve no readily apparent purpose. This short review focuses on transcription factors and argues they may have evolved from nucleoid-associated proteins. This would explain a large amount of recent data gleaned from high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatic analyses.
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