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Abstract

Chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons are widely used in industry and agriculture, and comprise the bulk of environmental pollutants. Although simple aromatic compounds are biodegradable by a variety of degradative pathways, their halogenated counterparts are more resistant to bacterial attack and often necessitate evolution of novel pathways. An understanding of such evolutionary processes is essential for developing genetically improved strains capable of mineralizing highly chlorinated compounds. This article provides an overview of the genetic aspects of dissimilation of chloroaromatic compounds and discusses the potential of gene manipulation to promote enhanced evolution of the degradative pathways.