Genetic Aspects of Heavy Metal Resistance

With a few exceptions, genetic studies of metal-microbe interactions have been limited and often confined to studies of mutant strains, mainly because knowledge of the physiology and biochemistry of resistance is fragmentary in many cases.

However, certain areas of metal-microbe interactions have received specific attention from genetics researchers, and this work has contributed not only to our knowledge of microbial responses to heavy metals but also to the wider fields of molecular biology and biotechnology. The areas in which considerable genetic advances have been made to date are heavy metal resistance in bacteria and cyanobacteria, and metallothionein in S. cerevisiae. In several areas of metal studies, not only is genetic information limited, but basic essential physiological and biochemical studies are lacking too.

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