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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Genetic variability in Halobacterium halobium.

Halobacterium halobium exhibits an extraordinary degree of spontaneous variability. Mutants which are defective in the formation of gas vacuoles (vac) arise at a frequency of 10(-2). Other easily detectable phenotypes, like the synthesis of bacterioruberin (Rub) or the synthesis of retinal (Ret) and bacterio-opsin (Ops), the two components which form the purple membrane (Pum) of H. halobium, are lost at a frequency of about 10(-4). With the same frequency a mutant type appears which exhibits an extremely high variability in these phenotypes. With the exception of the ret mutants, all spontaneously arising mutants show alterations, i.e., insertions, rearrangements, or deletions, in the plasmid pHH1. It appears that the introduction of one insertion into pHH1 triggers further insertions, which makes the identification of relationships between phenotypic and genotypic alterations rather difficult. From the analysis of a large number of spontaneous vac mutants and their vac+ revertants it can be concluded that the formation of the gas vacuoles is determined or controlled by plasmid genes. No such conclusion is yet possible for the rub mutants, although all mutants of this type so far analyzed exhibit a defined insertion. pum mutants which have lost the capability of forming bacterio-opsin carry insertions in the plasmid which are distributed over a rather large region of the plasmid. No strains of H. halobium could be obtained which had lost plasmid pHH1 completely.[1]


  1. Genetic variability in Halobacterium halobium. Pfeifer, F., Weidinger, G., Goebel, W. J. Bacteriol. (1981) [Pubmed]
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