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Mob Genet Elements. 2013 Jan 1;3(1):e23463.

Extensive genomic variation within clonal bacterial groups resulted from homologous recombination.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences; Wayne State University; Detroit, MI USA.


Due to divergence, genetic variation is generally believed to be high among distantly related strains, low among closely related ones and little or none within the same classified clonal groups. Several recent genome-wide studies, however, revealed that significant genetic variation resides in a considerable number of genes among strains with identical MLST (Multilocus sequence typing) types and much of the variation was introduced by homologous recombination. Recognizing and understanding genomic variation within clonal bacterial groups could shed new light on the evolutionary path of infectious agents and the emergence of particularly pathogenic or virulent variants. This commentary presents our recent contributions to this line of work.


homologous recombination; horizontal gene transfer; multilocus sequence typing; pathogenic adaptation; phylogenomics; prophage

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