By analyzing the spacing of genes on chromosomes, we find that transcriptional and RNA-processing regulatory sequences outside coding regions leave footprints on the distribution of intergenic distances. Using analogies between genes on chromosomes and one-dimensional gases, we constructed a statistical null model. We used this to estimate typical upstream and downstream regulatory sequence sizes in various species. Deviations from this model reveal bi-directional transcriptional regulatory regions in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and bi-directional terminators in Escherichia coli.