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Rev Infect Dis. 1987 Mar-Apr;9(2):357-68.

Molecular mechanisms for transposition of drug-resistance genes and other movable genetic elements.


Transposition is proposed to be responsible for the rapid evolution of multiply drug-resistant bacterial strains. Transposons, which carry the genes encoding drug resistance, are linear pieces of DNA that range in size from 2.5 to 23 kilobase pairs and always contain at their ends nucleotide sequences repeated in inverse order. In some transposons the terminal inverted repeat sequences are capable of independent movement and are called insertion sequences. Transposons carry a gene that encodes transposase(s), the enzyme(s) responsible for recombination of the transposon into another DNA molecule. Studies on transposable genetic elements in bacteria have not only given insight into the spread of antibiotic resistance but also into the process of DNA movement.

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