Bacterial plasmids; conjugation, colicinogeny and transmissible drug-resistance

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M.I.T. Press, 1973 - Science - 164 pages
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This is a sound, scholarly, yet very readable book that organizes the pertinent material on a relatively popular topic in bacterial genetics. In a complicated area where articles are scattered throughout the literature, it should prove an excellent reference source for researchers in microbial genetics and general microbiology, as well as in certain aspects of clinical medicine and in nutrition. Drug-resistance factors are accessory chromosomes, independent of the bacterial chromosome proper, which are of increasing practical concern as they cause a large portion of the antibiotic resistance that is prevalent in medicine and in veterinary practice. Yet these factors are only part of a much larger class of accessory chromosomes known as &"plasmids&" which have played a prominent role in the development of bacterial genetics of molecular biology as a whole. Two other well-known classes are the sex factors, which enable bacteria to transfer their genes to recipients by conjugation, and the bacterial phages&-viruses that grow in bacteria. Despite the great differences in their overt properties, all plasmids exhibit strong fundamental similarities, and it is these general properties rather than their individual peculiarities which are emphasized here. The book first notes how plasmids were discovered. It then discusses the physical structure of their chromosomes, their manner of replication, how they act to bring about conjugation, and other processes they determine. Although the treatment is primarily biological, the book supplies references to laboratory techniques and to the implications of the subject for human and for animal medicine.

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The discovery of plasmids
Plasmid genetics
Sex factors

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