Microbial Plasticity The Relevance to Microbial Ecology

  • E. Terzaghi
  • M. O’Hara
Part of the Advances in Microbial Ecology book series (AMIE, volume 11)


Classical microbial taxonomy rests solidly on assumptions of phenotypic stability and constancy of bacterial species. This phenotypic stability, in turn, not only has been presumed to reflect a corresponding physiological and genotypic stability but has also carried the tacit assumption that there is a manifest correspondence between genotype and phenotype. The discoveries first of plasmids and then of various classes of both autonomous and nonautonomous mobile genetic elements presented a serious challenge to this comfortable view of microbial stability. And now, as the techniques of contemporary microbiology and molecular genetics are being focused on an increasingly wide variety of microbial groups, mounting evidence is suggesting with increasing insistence that the microbial genome, and hence phenotype, is even more plastic and adaptable than initially imagined.


Transposable Element Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Rearrangement Event Cryptic Gene Replicative Transposition 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Terzaghi
    • 1
  • M. O’Hara
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and GeneticsMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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