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Bacteria of the Vibrio genus show a wide range of niche specialization, from free-living forms to those attached to biotic and abiotic surfaces, from symbiotic to pathogenic interactions and from estuarine to deep-sea habitats. They encompass the human pathogens Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus and a range of marine pathogens infecting fish, coral, shellfish and prawns.

The adaptability of vibrios relies on their capacity to generate genetic diversity at high rates, largely because of Lateral Gene Transfer (LGT). LGT is the method by which DNA moves between bacterial cells. It allows sharing of DNA between bacteria and is a major evolutionary driving force. In Vibrio cholerae, the major genes responsible for causing the disease cholera are on DNA elements that are mobile.

How does mobile DNA drive the evolution of vibrios? What role does mobile DNA have in the emergence of new vibrio pathogens? What role does environmental selection play in creating pathogenic vibrios that can infection humans?

The Vibrio Research Group @ UTS conducts research in this exciting area of microbiology

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