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Escherichia coli


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A species of Gram-negative aerobic bacteria that is found in the intestine (see coliform bacteria) and is also widely used in microbiological and genetics research. The motile rod-shaped cells ferment lactose and are usually harmless commensals, although certain strains are pathogenic and can cause a severe form of food poisoning. Studies of E. coli laboratory cultures have revealed much about the genetics of prokaryotes; the species is also frequently used in genetic engineering, particularly as a host for gene cloning and the expression of recombinant foreign genes in culture.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Biological Sciences.


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