Virus-Mediated Gene Transfer in Freshwater Environments

  • R. V. Miller
  • S. Ripp
  • J. Replicon
  • O. A. Ogunseitan
  • T. A. Kokjohn
Conference paper


Three major systems of genetic transfer are recognized in bacteria: conjugation, transduction, and transformation. These systems have been used routinely in the laboratory as tools of genetic analysis for many years, but their importance in investigating microbial genetic diversity and evolution in natural habitats has only recently begun to be investigated (Levy and Miller 1989). To date, most environmental studies have focussed on the potential for conjugation to transfer extra-chromosomal elements among microbes of the same or different species (Sayre and Miller 1991). Transduction (virus-mediated, horizontal gene transfer) has often been discounted as a potentially important process for the redistribution of genetic information (both chromosomal and extra-chromosomal) in bacterial populations because it is reductive (i.e., the donor is killed in the process of donating its genetic material to the recipient). However, recent reports have documented that transduction can be a fertile gene exchange system in natural ecosystems (Kokjohn 1989, Kokjohn and Miller 1992). We are using Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a model organism to study virus-mediated gene transfer in freshwater microbial populations (Morrison et al. 1978; Saye et al. 1987; 1990; Saye and Miller 1989; Miller et al. 1990; Ripp et al. 1992). Our studies have revealed a significant potential for transduction of both plasmid and chromosomal DNA in these environments.


Hydraulic Residence Time Natural Microbial Community Genetically Engineer Microorganism Natural Microbial Population Recipient Bacterium 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. V. Miller
    • 1
  • S. Ripp
    • 1
  • J. Replicon
    • 1
    • 2
  • O. A. Ogunseitan
    • 1
    • 3
  • T. A. Kokjohn
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Molecular GeneticsOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Program in Molecular BiologyLoyola University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Program in Social EcologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  4. 4.Environmental Research DivisionArgonne National LaboratoryArgonneUSA

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