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Microbiol Rev. 1990 Sep;54(3):226-41.

Genetics of Candida albicans.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis 55455.


Candida albicans is among the most common fungal pathogens. Infections caused by C. albicans and other Candida species can be life threatening in individuals with impaired immune function. Genetic analysis of C. albicans pathogenesis is complicated by the diploid nature of the species and the absence of a known sexual cycle. Through a combination of parasexual techniques and molecular approaches, an effective genetic system has been developed. The close relationship of C. albicans to the more extensively studied Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been of great utility in the isolation of Candida genes and development of the C. albicans DNA transformation system. Molecular methods have been used for clarification of taxonomic relationships and more precise epidemiologic investigations. Analysis of the physical and genetic maps of C. albicans and the closely related Candida stellatoidea has provided much information on the highly fluid nature of the Candida genome. The genetic system is seeing increased application to biological questions such as drug resistance, virulence determinants, and the phenomenon of phenotypic variation. Although most molecular analysis to data has been with C. albicans, the same methodologies are proving highly effective with other Candida species.

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