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Recombining Resistance Homologous recombination is frequent in many bacteria, but few studies have addressed whether subpopulations within a species are more or less likely to undergo this process and whether it has consequences for their evolution. Taking a large data set from the pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae , Hanage et al. (p. 1454 ) discovered a group of strains characterized by an anomalous sequence of housekeeping genes. This sequence appeared to have been horizontally acquired from other pneumococci and related species and was associated with resistance to all classes of antibiotics for which data are available. Thus, hyper-recombination (in contrast to hypermutation) is important in the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance and may play a role in determining the emergence of species clusters and the phenotypes associated with them.

Original publication




Journal article




American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Publication Date





1454 - 1457