Mutations and Mutagenesis

  • Edward A. Birge
Part of the Springer Series in Microbiology book series (SSMIC)


The first problem facing the early bacterial geneticist was to prove that bacteria did have inherited traits. The earliest presumption was that bacteria and other microorganisms were too small to have any phenotypic traits that could be studied. That concept was disabused by the work of Beadle and Tatum, who demonstrated that biochemical reactions could be used as phenotypic traits and developed the famous “one gene—one enzyme” hypothesis. There was, however, still one remaining area of uncertainty about the existence of bacterial genetics. Many workers thought that the hypothesis of Lamarck regarding the inheritance of acquired traits was true for bacteria even though it had already been disproved for the higher eukaryotes. The first task of the fledgling science of bacterial genetics was to prove that the same processes of mutation that had already been shown to occur in eukaryotes also occurred in prokaryotes.


Mutation Rate Genetic Code Mutant Cell Bacterial Variation Frameshift Mutation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward A. Birge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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