Mutations are fundamental for evolution. For many years it has been thought that mutagenesis occurs only in dividing cells. Now it is clear that mutations arise in non-dividing or slowly dividing microorganisms. Natural populations spend most of the time in stressful environments where their growth rate is highly reduced. Thus, the existence of a mutagenesis process, independent of multiplication (stress-induced mutagenesis, SIM), might have a profound evolutionary role. In the presented paper we review the stateof-the-art in enteric and non-enteric bacteria. We describe different experimental systems as well as the mechanisms and models presented to explain the huge amount of data obtained in more than twenty years of research.

Nora Babudri

University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy

Hovirag Lancioni

University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

Alessandro Achilli

University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

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