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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 Jun 25;200(2):163-7.

Transformation of an oral bacterium via chromosomal integration of free DNA in the presence of human saliva.

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Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, UK.


Transformation of Streptococcus gordonii DL1 by free DNA was studied in human saliva. Competent S. gordonii could be transformed in vitro with plasmid DNA that had been taken into the human mouth. Transformation also occurred with a plasmid that cannot replicate in S. gordonii, but that has a region of chromosomal homology, by integration into the bacterial chromosome, although linearised plasmid DNA gave no transformants. Linear chromosomal DNA fragments did however transform S. gordonii/Tn916 efficiently in saliva when regions of homology with the recipient chromosome flanked the marker gene. These findings are discussed in relation to the potential for acquisition of DNA sequences, including genetically modified DNA, by gut and oral bacteria.

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