Many microorganisms carry genes that have the potential to code for specific functions but remain inactive during the normal lifetime of the organism. Such genes have been termed cryptic genes and their activation usually requires a mutational event. They are different from pseudogenes which arise as a result of duplication of a functional gene but remain inactivated because of the accumulation of multiple mutations. This review is an attempt to examine some of the well-characterized cryptic genetic systems inEscherichia coli in an effort to understand their functional and evolutionary significance.
Volume 101, 2022
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