The Genetics of Streptomycetes

Part of the Tertiary Level Biology book series (TLB)


The streptomycetes are bacteria which produce small granular colonies with very thin hyphae and spores. In some ways they resemble the filamentous fungi, but their genetic systems and absence of a nuclear membrane firmly classifies them with the eubacteria. They are rarely dealt with in genetics textbooks, which is surprising as industrially they are very important. They are responsible for the production of 60% of all known antibiotics, including erythromycin, tetracycline and streptomycin. The filamentous habit and production of spores has prevented the analysis of recombination by some of the elegant techniques available for E. coli, but selective techniques showed that recombination could occur. Early work concentrated on Streptomyces coelicolor (Hopwood, 1967; Hopwood et al., 1973) but other species have now been studied (Hopwood and Merrick, 1977). In many ways the early literature is confusing, as the details of the various systems were not known. Strains will be described by the recent nomenclature which has been made possible by the discovery of two plasmids, SCP1 and SCP2, in S. coelicolor.


Circular Chromosome Blue Coloni Complete Pathway Selective Technique Recombinant Spore 
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© Blackie & Son Ltd 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King’s College LondonUK

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