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Trends Biotechnol. 2006 Mar;24(3):121-30. Epub 2006 Feb 13.

Diversity, distribution and divergence of lin genes in hexachlorocyclohexane-degrading sphingomonads.

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Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi-110 007, India.


Two forms of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), gamma-HCH (lindane) and technical HCH (incorporating alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta- isomers), have been used against agricultural pests and in health programs since the 1940s. Although all the isomers are present in the milieu, delta- and beta-HCH isomers are the most problematic and present a serious environmental problem. Bacteria that degrade HCH isomers have been isolated from HCH contaminated soils from different geographical locations around the world (from the family Sphingomonadaceae). Interestingly, all these bacteria contain nearly identical lin genes (responsible for HCH degradation), which are diverging to perform several catabolic functions. The organization and diversity of lin genes have been studied among several sphingomonads, and they have been found to be associated with plasmids and IS6100, both of which appear to have a significant role in their horizontal transfer. The knowledge of the molecular genetics, diversity and distribution of lin genes, and the potential of sphingomonads to degrade HCH isomers, can now be used for developing bioremediation techniques for the decontamination of HCH contaminated sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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