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Health Agencies Update
August 15, 2001

Staph Gene Swappers

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JAMA. 2001;286(7):781. doi:10.1001/jama.286.7.781-JHA10008-2-1

Staphylococcus aureus, which is responsible for toxic shock syndrome and many antibiotic-resistant infections, adapts to its environment by swapping genes with its cousins, say scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. After analyzing gene data from 36 strains of the organism, the team led by James Musser, MD, PhD, found that nearly 25% of the S aureus genome held nothing but dispensable genes, not required for basic cell processes.