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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Apr;24(2):241-8.

Dynamic bacterial genome organization.

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Institute of Pharmacy, Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology Centre of Oslo, University of Oslo, Norway.


Recently completed projects of sequencing chromosomal fragments and entire chromosomes, as well as physical mapping of genomes, have opened novel inroads to the understanding of the biology of bacterial genomes. From these studies one may draw some conclusions. (i) The organization of orthologous genes on the bacterial chromosome is not conserved during evolution. (ii) The bacterial genome is more complex and also more flexible than hitherto thought. Genetic elements are sometimes part of the chromosome, while at other times they are independent elements or parts of alternative replicons (e.g. large plasmids). Such replicons, carrying essential genes, now seem to deserve the designation 'secondary chromosomes'. A study of the regulation of replication and segregation of these essential genetic elements will be of great interest.

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