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Escherichia coli strains bearing wild-type and mutant alleles of various recombination genes, as well as plasmids that express recombination-related genes of bacteriophages lambda and P22, were tested for their proficiency as recipients in Hfr-mediated conjugation. It was found that the homologous recombination systems of both phages could promote recombination in a recB recC mutant host. In addition, the Abc function of P22, but not the Gam function of lambda, was found to inhibit recombination in a wild-type host; however, both Abc and Gam inhibited recombination in a recF mutant host. These observations are interpreted as indicating that the recombination systems of both phages, as well as the RecBCD-modulating functions Abc and Gam, all activate the RecF recombination pathway of E. coli.