With the sequence of two bacterial genomes complete (Fleischmann et al., 1995; Fraser et al., 1995) and several more near completion, it is now possible to view the entire genetic structure of an organism with a new perspective. Yet this perspective is not a static one. As we learn more about various bacterial genomes, the number of characterized bacterial insertion sequences (ISs) continues to increase. Examples are known from a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial species as well as from the archaebacteria (reviewed by Galas and Chandler, 1989; Murphy, 1989; Charlebois and Doolittle, 1989). ISs are normal constituents not only of many bacterial chromosomes but also of some plasmids and bacteriophages. The prevalence of transposable elements (ISs and transposons) with their capacity for moving from one site in the genome to another, for modifying gene expression, and for promoting genome rearrangements, contributes significantly to a genome in a state of continuous change.
KeywordsTransposable Element Inverted Repeat Insertion Sequence Polar Mutation Transposase Protein
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