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Title: Oligonucleotide recombination: a hidden treasure

item Swingle, Bryan
item Markel, Eric
item Cartinhour, Samuel

Submitted to: Bioengineered Bugs
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/19/2010
Publication Date: 7/1/2010
Citation: Swingle, B.M., Markel, E.J., Cartinhour, S.W. 2010. Oligonucleotide recombination: a hidden treasure. Bioengineered Bugs. 1(4):1-4.

Interpretive Summary: Directed modification of microbial genomes is time consuming and difficult in most bacterial species. We discovered a new genetic phenomenon that allows bacterial genes to be modified with limited manipulation. Here we summarize the salient features of this process and present data that supports a molecular model of the process. Additionally, we describe what is necessary for scientists to begin using this phenomenon in their own research. This is a seminal discovery for several reasons. First, we have discovered a fundamental biological process that was not previously recognized in bacteria. Second, this process has widespread applications in genetic engineering of bacteria and scientists seeking to modify bacterial genes can take advantage of this process.

Technical Abstract: The ability to direct site-specific changes in bacterial DNA sequences a central tenant uniting all aspects of microbiology that involve functional analysis of genes and genomes. Until very recently, this has been considered to be difficult or impossible. We have described a novel type of homologous recombination that enables sequence information encoded in single stranded DNA oligonucleotides to direct gene conversion events at homologous locations in bacterial genomes. In this manuscript, we describe the salient features of this process in terms of the application for biological engineering. We also present new data that supports our current model of recombination between the transformed oligo and the homologous location in the genome. Additionally, we provide a framework to help guide scientists interested in employing this technology in their research.