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Nat Rev Genet. 2003 Jun;4(6):419-31.

The art and design of genetic screens: Escherichia coli.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York 10032, USA.


This article summarizes the general principles of selections and screens in Escherichia coli. The focus is on the lac operon, owing to its inherent simplicity and versatility. Examples of different strategies for mutagenesis and mutant discovery are described. In particular, the usefulness and effectiveness of simple colour-based screens are illustrated. The power of lac genetics can be applied to almost any bacterial system with gene fusions that hook any gene of interest to lacZ, which is the structural gene that encodes beta-galactosidase. The diversity of biological processes that can be studied with lac genetics is remarkable and includes DNA metabolism, gene regulation and signal transduction, protein localization and folding, and even electron transport.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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