Basic Principles of Microbial Genetics

Part of the Tertiary Level Biology book series (TLB)


The genetic study of microbes has played a highly significant role in the recent developments in molecular biology, recombinant DNA technology and the preparation of useful products such as insulin, human growth hormone and blood clotting factors. It was no coincidence that the first artificially-produced hybrid DNA was constructed using bacterial plasmids, and many of the spectacular advances and discoveries have been dependent on microbial systems or on microbial models. This success can be traced back to the first experiments on the molecular genetics of DNA in the genetic transformation of bacteria, as well as to the first isolation of metabolic mutants in fungi. Microbes are ideally suited to the combined biochemical and genetic approach which had early successes in the solution of the genetic code and the regulation of gene activity. The discovery and analysis of plasmid and bacteriophage systems laid the foundation for the exploitation of recombinant DNA techniques, which in their turn were dependent on the discovery of highly specific enzymes, also in bacteria. These techniques have revealed details of genetic organization which traditional genetic methods could not have brought to light.


Mutant Strain Homologous Chromosome Aspergillus Nidulans Complementation Test Asexual Spore 
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© Blackie & Son Ltd 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King’s College LondonUK

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