Gene transfer in soil systems using microcosms

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Soil microcosms are a valuable tool for the study of genetic interactions between microorganisms in natural soil environments. However, many factors, some of which are better studied than others, can affect gene transfer events occurring in soil systems, and hence should be carefully considered when performing experiments in soil microcosms. This paper is a guide to setting up and evaluating gene transfer experiments, and in particular conjugation studies in soil microcosms. Particular emphasis is given to the transfer of broad-host-range (primarily clinically derived) plasmids, and natural antibiotic resistance and catabolic soil plasmids.

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