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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2006 Jun;9(3):307-11. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Seeking completeness in bacterial mutant hunts.

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Division of Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue N, PO Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA.


The identification of most or all of the genetic functions that are required for a particular biological process could be achieved through phenotypic studies of high genome-coverage mutant collections. Technologies for creating such collections, in the form of mixed populations or individually arrayed sequence-defined mutants, are now available for numerous bacterial species. The analysis of mixed mutant collections using microarray-based detection procedures appears to be particularly effective in identifying functions required for complex processes such as virulence. The phenotypic analysis of sequence-defined mutant libraries provides a virtually complete identification of nonessential genes required for processes for which suitable screens can be devised. Such libraries also serve as a source of individual mutants for examining the biological relevance of gene associations revealed by transcriptional profiling or homology.

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