Commonly known as mycoplasmas, bacteria of the class Mollicutes include the smallest and simplest life forms capable of self replication outside of a host. Yet, this minimalism hides major human and animal pathogens whose prevalence and occurrence have long been underestimated. Owing to advances in sequencing methods, large data sets have become available for a number of mycoplasma species and strains, providing new diagnostic approaches, typing strategies, and means for comprehensive studies. A broader picture is thus emerging in which mycoplasmas are successful pathogens having evolved a number of mechanisms and strategies for surviving hostile environments and adapting to new niches or hosts.
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