Horizontal gene transfer as a biosafety issue: A natural phenomenon of public concern

Droge M, Pühler A, Selbitschka W (1998)
JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY 64(1): 75-90.

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Abstract
The transfer of genetic information between distantly or even unrelated organisms during evolution had been inferred from nucleotide sequence comparisons. These studies provided circumstantial evidence that in rare cases genes had been laterally transmitted amongst organisms of the domains bacteria, archaea and eukarya. Laboratory-based studies confirmed that the gene pools of the various domains of organisms are linked. Amongst the bacterial gene exchange mechanisms transduction, transformation and conjugation, the latter was identified as the mechanism with potentially the broadest host range of transfer. Previously, the issue of horizontal gene transfer has become important in the context of biosafety. Gene transfer studies carried out under more natural conditions such as in model ecosystems or in the environment established that all gene transfer mechanisms worked under these conditions. Moreover, environmental hot-spots were identified where favourable conditions such as nutrient enrichment increased the probability of genetic exchange among bacteria. In particular, the phytosphere was shown to provide conducive conditions for conjugative gene exchange. Concern has been expressed that transfer of recombinant DNA (e.g. antibiotic resistance genes) from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as transgenic plants to phytosphere bacteria may occur and thus contribute to the undesirable spread of antibiotic resistance determinants. Studies which were performed to address this issue clearly showed that such a transfer occurs, if at all, at extremely low frequency. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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Droge M, Pühler A, Selbitschka W. Horizontal gene transfer as a biosafety issue: A natural phenomenon of public concern. JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY. 1998;64(1):75-90.
Droge, M., Pühler, A., & Selbitschka, W. (1998). Horizontal gene transfer as a biosafety issue: A natural phenomenon of public concern. JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, 64(1), 75-90. doi:10.1016/S0168-1656(98)00105-9
Droge, M., Pühler, A., and Selbitschka, W. (1998). Horizontal gene transfer as a biosafety issue: A natural phenomenon of public concern. JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY 64, 75-90.
Droge, M., Pühler, A., & Selbitschka, W., 1998. Horizontal gene transfer as a biosafety issue: A natural phenomenon of public concern. JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, 64(1), p 75-90.
M. Droge, A. Pühler, and W. Selbitschka, “Horizontal gene transfer as a biosafety issue: A natural phenomenon of public concern”, JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, vol. 64, 1998, pp. 75-90.
Droge, M., Pühler, A., Selbitschka, W.: Horizontal gene transfer as a biosafety issue: A natural phenomenon of public concern. JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY. 64, 75-90 (1998).
Droge, M, Pühler, Alfred, and Selbitschka, Werner. “Horizontal gene transfer as a biosafety issue: A natural phenomenon of public concern”. JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY 64.1 (1998): 75-90.
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