A reductionist approach at the whole-cell level is needed so as to understand the chemical reactions and industrial potential of living cell. Both academic and industrial interests motivates the genome reduction projects which aims to reduce the gene content while maintaining its favorable characteristics including robust growth. Extended genome comparisons and genome reduction simulations that are based on in silico deletions predict the effects of deletions while gene essentiality provides the empirical data on individual genes. Genome comparisons provide the core genome and identifies a set of genomic islands which are both highly informative. Moreover, a review on the recent theoretical and experimental progresses on genome minimizations are presented. Specific topics covered include the minimal gene-set concept, naturally evolved minimal gene sets, the estimation of the size and gene content of minimal genomes and some techniques of experimental genome reductions.
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