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Curr Biol. 1994 Jan 1;4(1):24-33.

Adaptive evolution of highly mutable loci in pathogenic bacteria.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, UK.


Bacteria have specific loci that are highly mutable. We argue that the coexistence within bacterial genomes of such 'contingency' genes with high mutation rates, and 'housekeeping' genes with low mutation rates, is the result of adaptive evolution, and facilitates the efficient exploration of phenotypic solutions to unpredictable aspects of the host environment while minimizing deleterious effects on fitness.

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