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J Bacteriol. Dec 1993; 175(24): 7863–7868.
PMCID: PMC206963

The ancestry of insertion sequences common to Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium.


Despite very restricted gene exchange between Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium, both species harbor several of the same classes of insertion sequences. To determine whether the present-day distribution of these transposable elements is due to common ancestry or to horizontal transfer, we determined the sequences of IS1 and IS200 from natural isolates of S. typhimurium and E. coli. One strain of S. typhimurium harbored an IS1 element identical to that originally recovered from E. coli, suggesting that the element was recently transferred between these two species. The level of sequence divergence between copies of IS200 from E. coli and S. typhimurium ranged from 9.5 to 10.7%, indicating that IS200, unlike IS1, has not been repeatedly transferred between these enteric species since E. coli and S. typhimurium diverged from a common ancestor. Levels of variability in IS1 and IS200 for strains of E. coli and S. typhimurium show that each class of insertion sequence has a characteristic pattern of transposition within and among host genomes.

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