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Genome Plasticity and Infectious Diseases

Editors: Jörg Hacker1, Ulrich Dobrindt2, Reinhard Kurth3
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Affiliations: 1: German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Halle (Saale), Germany; 2: University of Münster, Münster, Germany; 3: President EmeritusRobert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany
Content Type: Monograph
Format: Hardcover, Electronic
Publication Year: 2012

Category: Microbial Genetics and Molecular Biology; Genomics and Bioinformatics

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Comprehensive examination of the current understanding of pathogen adaptation and microevolution.

  • Introduces the rapidly evolving field of genome plasticity, presents the latest research findings, and explores the relevance of these findings to infection and infection control.
  • Compiles and analyzes current investigations on the genome fluidity of pathogenic microbes.
  • Explores bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites from the aspect of host genome plasticity and its impact on infection.

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Microbiology Today

03 March 2013

Variety is, supposedly, 'the spice of life'. In the case of infectious agents, however, it is a matter of survival. Genomic plasticity in infectious agents is alteration of the sequence of genes so that different sequences are expressed or the original sequences are expressed at different levels. This phenomenon allows those infectious agents to adapt and survive changes in their environmental conditions. In the context of infectious disease, the environment includes the host, so genomic plasticity in the host organism also has to be considered. This book describes examples of genomic changes occurring in medically important bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa, as well as examples of genomic plasticity that occur in man that affect susceptibility to these agents. Changes can occur by rearrangement within an organism's own genome or by the addition or exchange of genetic material from outside, and any genomic change that enables an infectious agent to survive, flourish and, in some cases, cause disease, in an environment made evermore hostile by the presence of antimicrobial drugs or host immune responses, will be to the agent's advantage.

The book would benefit from the inclusion an introductory chapter describing the basis of genomic change and its relevance to infectious disease, and also by having abstracts in each chapter. The book will be of interest to anyone studying infectious diseases but its price will certainly limit purchase to institutions.

Society for General Microbiology: Microbiology Today

Reviewer: Christopher Ring, Middlesex University

Review Date: 2012

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