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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Nov;4(11):826-36.

Bacterial populations as perfect gases: genomic integrity and diversification tensions in Helicobacter pylori.

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Departments of Medicine and Microbiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, 10016 USA.


Microorganisms that persist in single hosts face particular challenges. Helicobacter pylori, an obligate bacterial parasite of the human stomach, has evolved a lifestyle that features interstrain competition and intraspecies cooperation, both of which involve horizontal gene transfer. Microbial species must maintain genomic integrity, yet H. pylori has evolved a complex nonlinear system for diversification that exists in dynamic tension with the mechanisms for ensuring fidelity. Here, we review these tensions and propose that they create a dynamic pool of genetic variants that is sufficiently genetically diverse to allow H. pylori to occupy all of the potential niches in the stomach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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