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The Essential Role of Recombination in Phage T4 Growth

"General" or "homologous" recombination, exchange between segments of DNA that share extensive homology, is a ubiquitous process (47, 61, 86, 97)_ It largely follows the pathways first formulated by Holliday (35) and White­ house (96). Variations on these pathways are mostly caused by idiosyncrasies in DNA structure and metabolism of particular organisms, most importantly by the specificity and activity of enzymes that mediate individual steps. The roles of double-stranded breaks (ends) and single-stranded interruptions in initiating recombination have recently been discussed (86a). Recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms are reviewed by G. Smith (this volume). 0066-4197/87/1215-0347$02.00 MOSIG However, the purpose of recombination is largely ignored, except for its role in repair of DNA damages (2, 10, 15). Here I review phage T4 recombination in the context of T4 development, with the hope that this discussion may help in understanding the evolution and consequences of recombination in terms of its interactions with other cellular processes. The development of T-even bacteriophages in infected Escherichia coli cells provided paradigms for many processes and regulatory mechanisms that now constitute the foundation of molecular biology (9). Prominent among these processes are recombination (30) and the demonstration that exchanges between the corresponding chromosomes http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Genetics Annual Reviews
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