To survive and establish a niche for themselves, bacteria constantly evolve. Toward that, they not only insert point mutations and promote illegitimate recombinations within their genomes but also insert pieces of ‘foreign’ deoxyribonucleic acid, which are commonly referred to as ‘genomic islands’ (GEIs). The GEIs come in several forms, structures and types, often providing a fitness advantage to the harboring bacterium. In pathogenic bacteria, some GEIs may enhance virulence, thus altering disease burden, morbidity and mortality. Hence, delineating (i) the GEIs framework, (ii) their encoded functions, (iii) the triggers that help them move, (iv) the mechanisms they exploit to move among bacteria and (v) identification of their natural reservoirs will aid in superior tackling of several bacterial diseases, including sepsis. Given the vast array of comparative genomics data, in this short review, we provide an overview of the GEIs, their types and the compositions therein, especially highlighting GEIs harbored by two important pathogens, viz. Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which prominently trigger sepsis in low- and middle-income countries. Our efforts help shed some light on the challenges these pathogens pose when equipped with GEIs. We hope that this review will provoke intense research into understanding GEIs, the cues that drive their mobility across bacteria and the ways and means to prevent their transfer, especially across pathogenic bacteria.
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