Recovery of new integron classes from environmental DNA

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Journal Article
FEMS Microbiology Letters, 2001, 195 (1), pp. 59 - 65
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Integrons are genetic elements known for their role in the acquisition and expression of genes conferring antibiotic resistance. Such acquisition is mediated by an integron-encoded integrase, which captures genes that are part of gene cassettes. To test whether integrons occur in environments with no known history of antibiotic exposure, PCR primers were designed to conserved regions of the integrase gene and the gene cassette recombination site. Amplicons generated from four environmental DNA samples contained features typical of the integrons found in antibiotic-resistant and pathogenic bacteria. The sequence diversity of the integrase genes in these clones was sufficient to classify them within three new classes of integron. Since they are derived from environments not associated with antibiotic use, integrons appear to be more prevalent in bacteria than previously observed. © 2001 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.
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