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Genetics. 1998 Apr;148(4):1579-85.

Antimutator mutants in bacteriophage T4 and Escherichia coli.

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Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Antimutators are mutant strains that have reduced mutation rates compared to the corresponding wild-type strain. Their existence, along with mutator mutants that have higher mutation rates compared to the wild-type strain, are powerful evidence that mutation rates are genetically controlled. Compared to mutator mutants, antimutators have a very distinguishing property. Because they prevent normally occurring mutations, they, uniquely, are capable of providing insight into the mechanisms of spontaneous mutations. In this review, antimutator mutants are discussed in bacteriophage T4 and the bacterium Escherichia coli, with regard to their properties, possible mechanisms, and implications for the sources of spontaneous mutations in these two organisms.

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