Specialized transducing strains of bacteriophage lambda have been isolated that carry the transposable kanamycin resistance element, Tn903. Tn903 carries an inverted duplication of 1130 base-pairs flanking the kanamycin resistance gene. Often, when λ::Tn903 particles are infected into bacterial cells, the lambda chromosome is rearranged into a defective lambda plasmid which replicates with the bacterial cell. The formation of the defective plasmids (called Tn903λdv) is most likely induced by the Tn903 insertion itself. This follows from the fact that the novel DNA sequence found in these plasmids, with respect to the ancestral λTn903 chromosome, is always adjacent to the Tn903 element. Physical chromosomal mapping of these plasmids shows that they contain large inverted duplications of lambda sequences situated about the Tn903 insertion. The formation of the Tn903λdv plasmids from the ancestral λTn903 is not dependent on the recombination functions provided through the phage red gene or the host recA gene.
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