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Acta Microbiol Pol. 2003;52(3):233-43.

Horizontal DNA transfer between bacteria in the environment.

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Department of Bacterial Genetics, Institute of Microbiology, University of Warsaw, Miecznikowa 1, 02-096 Warsaw, Poland.


In the environment horizontal DNA transfer between various bacterial species and genera takes place by transformation, transduction, but mainly by conjugation. Conjugation is responsible for the spread of genes coding for antibiotic resistance and xenobiotic degradation. Transfer events are reported in animal, rhizosphere and phylloplane ecosystems and in non polluted and polluted water and soil. Genetic exchange between Bacteria and Archaea is also observed. Evaluation of the extent of interspecies gene transfer is crucial in view of the deliberate release of a variety of unmodified and genetically modified microorganisms into the natural environments.

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