Summary: A comparison of the β-lactamase elements detected on three classes of large plasmids together with the chromosomes of penicillin-resistant revealed substantial physical and genetic relatedness. In most cases, β-lactamase production could be associated with the presence of a DNA segment of approximately 6.7 kb. Analysis showed that the plasmid-borne determinants constitute nearly identical transposons or transposon-like elements. An element indistinguishable from one of these, Tn, which is carried by the pSK1 family of plasmids in clinical isolates from Australian hospitals, was also identified on the staphylococcal chromosome and is implicated in an evolutionary cycle of transposition between chromosomal and extrachromosomal sites in Australian strains of multiresistant .


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