Molecular Life Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert D. Wells, Judith S. Bond, Judith Klinman, Bettie Sue Siler Masters, Ellis Bell

Mathematical Modeling of Plasmid Dynamics

  • Jan-Ulrich Kreft
Living reference work entry


Plasmids allow the rapid spread of genes through bacterial populations by a number of routes – transformation, transduction, and most specifically conjugative transfer – followed by independent replication rather than being constrained by the need for recombination in the new host. The dynamics of such spread is of both fundamental and practical importance, particularly in relation to understanding the spread of antibiotic resistance and in developing plasmids as tools for delivery of key functions into a variety of systems. Modeling can pinpoint key factors that facilitate or impede spread and can help to extend predictions from laboratory systems to practical applications. Mass action models have been useful to model plasmid dynamics in well-mixed systems but are much less successful when applied to structured bacterial communities as found in biofilms and other types of growth on surfaces or in matrices. Initially, this second generation of model worked with simple surface...


Plasmid Transfer Conjugative Transfer Mass Action Model Meaningful Entity Plasmid Genome 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biosciences and Institute of Microbiology and Infection and Centre for Systems BiologyUniversity of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUK