Summary: type b strains isolated from children with meningitis, septicaemia and pharyngitis were studied for their ability to undergo genetic transformation by two chromosomal markers, streptomycin resistance and nalidixic acid resistance. Fifty-eight percent of the strains were non-transformable while the remaining 42% showed considerable strain variation with regard to their transformation frequencies, which ranged from 8 × 10 to 1 × 10. The effect of type b capsule on competence development and transformation activity was studied by comparing encapsulated strains with their non-encapsulated variants. Type b capsule did not inhibit either competence development or transforming efficiency. The lack of transformability in the majority of strains was not due to the presence of a capsule.


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