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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2007 Sep;87(5):393-404. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

The role of IS6110 in the evolution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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1
DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa. cmcevoy@sun.ac.za

Abstract

Members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex contain the transposable element IS6110 which, due to its high numerical and positional polymorphism, has become a widely used marker in epidemiological studies. Here, we review the evidence that IS6110 is not simply a passive or 'junk' DNA sequence, but that, through its transposable activity, it is able to generate genotypic variation that translates into strain-specific phenotypic variation. We also speculate on the role that this variation has played in the evolution of M. tuberculosis and conclude that the presence of a moderate IS6110 copy number within the genome may provide the pathogen with a selective advantage that has aided its virulence.

PMID:
17627889
DOI:
10.1016/j.tube.2007.05.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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