DNA sequences corresponding to the 4·7-kb gentamicin, tobramycin and kanamycin resistance (Gm Tm Km) transposon Tn4001 have been detected on a series of nine structurally-related plasmids that mediate this phenotype in Australian isolates of Tn4001 sequences have also been demonstrated on the chromosomes of GmTm Km isolates that do not possess these plasmids, and the exhibited diversity of chromosomal sites occupied by this element implies that Tn4001 has transposed to the chromosome on numerous occasions These results suggest that the rapid emergence of nosocomial Gm Tm Km in the early 1980s may have been the result of the transposition of Tn4001 from a chromosomal site to a readily disseminated plasmid.


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