Evidence for genetic recombination between Mycobacterium smegmatis strain Rabinowitchi (Rab) and strain Jucho or PM5 is presented. Backcrosses of recombinants by either parental strain indicated four different types of mating behavior, suggesting that the mycobacterial compatibilities are controlled by at least two different factors. No sex factor that transfers at a high frequency or that is sensitive to acridine dyes was detected. Analysis of segregation of unselected markers revealed that strain Jucho, or PM5, contributes the majority of alleles in almost all recombinants obtained from different selective media. Efforts to construct linkage maps for the markers employed failed because of ordering ambiguities. Mating medium containing streptomycin prevented genetic recombination when strain Rab was resistant to the antibiotic and Jucho, or PM5, was sensitive, but it did not prevent recombination when Rab was sensitive to streptomycin and Jucho, or PM5, was resistant. Very low frequency of recombinant formation was observed when Jucho, or PM5, had been treated with streptomycin, whereas recombinants were formed at fairly high frequencies when Rab had been treated with the antibiotic, suggesting that the roles of parental strains in zygote formation were not identical. The results suggest a polar transfer of genetic material from Rab to Jucho, or PM5, although an alternative possibility of cell fusion followed by exclusion could not be excluded.
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