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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2008 Oct;287(1):56-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01291.x. Epub 2008 Aug 1.

Recovery of diverse genes for class 1 integron-integrases from environmental DNA samples.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Genes to Geoscience Research Centre, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Class 1 integrons are an important vector for the spread of antibiotic resistance. The core of this genetic element is highly conserved in all class 1 integrons recovered from clinical contexts. Recently, bacteria containing more divergent class 1 integrons have been isolated from environmental samples, suggesting undiscovered diversity in these elements. We performed a culture-independent survey of the class 1 integron-integrase gene (intI1) from environmental DNA, assessing sequence variation using capillary electrophoresis single-strand conformation polymorphism. This analysis allowed informed selection of environments for further investigation based on the diversity of intI1 targets that were present. IntI1 was common in environmental samples and exhibited previously unsuspected sequence diversity. The method allowed discrimination between clinical and environmental variants of intI1.

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