Homologous recombination-experimental systems, analysis, and significance

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Homologous recombination is the most complex of all recombination events that shape genomes and produce material for evolution. Homologous recombination events are exchanges between DNA molecules in the lengthy regions of shared identity, catalyzed by a group of dedicated enzymes. There is a variety of experimental systems in Escherichia coli and Salmonella to detect homologous recombination events of several different kinds. Genetic analysis of homologous recombination reveals three separate phases of this process: pre-synapsis (the early phase), synapsis (homologous strand exchange), and postsynapsis (the late phase). In E. coli, there are at least two independent pathway of the early phase and at least two independent pathways of the late phase. All this complexity is incongruent with the originally ascribed role of homologous recombination as accelerator of genome evolution: there is simply not enough duplication and repetition in enterobacterial genomes for homologous recombination to have a detectable evolutionary role and therefore not enough selection to maintain such a complexity. At the same time, the mechanisms of homologous recombination are uniquely suited for repair of complex DNA lesions called chromosomal lesions. In fact, the two major classes of chromosomal lesions are recognized and processed by the two individual pathways at the early phase of homologous recombination. It follows, therefore, that homologous recombination events are occasional reflections of the continual recombinational repair, made possible in cases of natural or artificial genome redundancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEcoSal Plus
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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