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Surprising Infection Inducing Mechanism Found in Bacteria

A study appearing in Nature, with the participation of doctors Susana Campoy and Jordi Barbé from the Department of Genetics and Microbiology at UAB, demonstrates that bacteria have a surprising mechanism to transfer virulent genes causing infections. The researchers describe an unprecedented evolutionary adaptation and could contribute to finding new ways of treating and preventing bacterial infections.

Pathogenic genes are responsible for making bacteria capable of causing diseases. These genes cause bacteria to produce specific types of toxins and determine whether or not a disease will later develop in an individual. These virulent genes can be passed from one bacteria to another if the genome segments containing them, known as pathogenicity islands, are transferred from one to another.

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