Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Md. have developed a new tool for editing and repairing bacterial DNA in vivo using *-mediated homologous recombination. Originally used with chromosomal genes in yeast and Escherichia coli, this technique soon could be used with genes cloned on plasmids, which would allow scientists to study other pathogens and correct mutations or create markers in eukaryotic cells. A team led by Donald Court, head of the molecular control and genetics section at NCI, introduced synthetic, single-stranded oligonucleotides, some as short as 30 base pairs, into E. coli DNA using Beta protein of phage * (H. Ellis et al., "High efficiency mutagenesis, repair, and engineering of chromosomal DNA using single-stranded oligonucleotides," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98:6742-6, June 5, 2001). This protein binds the ssDNA donor fragment to a complementary single strand near the replication fork; DNA polymerase and...
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