Gene amplification and genomic plasticity in prokaryotes

Annu Rev Genet. 1997;31:91-111. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.31.1.91.


Gene amplification is a common feature of the genome of prokaryotic organisms. In this review, we analyze different instances of gene amplification in a variety of prokaryotes, including their mechanisms of generation and biological role. Growing evidence supports the concept that gene amplification be considered not as a mutation but rather as a dynamic genomic state related to the adaptation of bacterial populations to changing environmental conditions or biological interactions. In this context, the potentially amplifiable DNA regions impose a defined dynamic structure on the genome. If such structure has indeed been selected during evolution, it is a particularly challenging hypothesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Amplification*
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Prokaryotic Cells