Homologous recombination is a fundamental cellular process that rearranges genes both within and between chromosomes, promotes repair of damaged DNA and underpins replication. Much of our understanding of recombination stems from pioneering studies of bacterial and eukaryotic systems such as Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Since most archaeal species are extremophilic and difficult to cultivate, current knowledge of recombination in the Archaea is confined largely to comparative genomics and biochemistry. A clear view of what we can learn will not emerge until genetic and molecular systems have been established. We are developing such systems using Haloferax volcanii as a model organism, as it can be cultivated in the laboratory with ease and offers great potential for establishing tractable and informative genetic systems.

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