This is Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health MS02-00.


We describe a Bayesian method for estimating the number of essential genes in a genome, on the basis of data on viable mutants for which a single transposon was inserted after a random TA site in a genome,potentially disrupting a gene. The prior distribution for the number of essential genes was taken to be uniform. A Gibbs sampler was used to estimate the posterior distribution. The method is illustrated with simulated data. Further simulations were used to study the performance of the procedure.