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Bacteriophage. 2012 Jan 1;2(1):5-14.

Recombineering: A powerful tool for modification of bacteriophage genomes.


Recombineering, a recently developed technique for efficient genetic manipulation of bacteria, is facilitated by phage-derived recombination proteins and has the advantage of using DNA substrates with short regions of homology. This system was first developed in E. coli but has since been adapted for use in other bacteria. It is now widely used in a number of different systems for a variety of purposes, and the construction of chromosomal gene knockouts, deletions, insertions, point mutations, as well as in vivo cloning, mutagenesis of bacterial artificial chromosomes and phasmids, and the construction of genomic libraries has been reported. However, these methods also can be effectively applied to the genetic modification of bacteriophage genomes, in both their prophage and lytically growing states. The ever-growing collection of fully sequenced bacteriophages raises more questions than they answer, including the unknown functions of vast numbers of genes with no known homologs and of unknown function. Recombineering of phage genomes is central to addressing these questions, enabling the simple construction of mutants, determination of gene essentiality, and elucidation of gene function. In turn, advances in our understanding of phage genomics should present similar recombineering tools for dissecting a multitude of other genetically naïve bacterial systems.

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