Genetics and Genomics

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Bacterial Gene Exchange


Bacteria have been shown to use different mechanisms to transfer important genetic information, such as antibiotic resistance or toxin production, which can be passed from one bacterial cell to another. These exchanges can be detrimental to human hosts who then encounter the genetically enhanced bacteria. Bacteria can exchange genetic information between cells via three mechanisms.

The first mechanism involves transfer of a

via conjugation through a narrow tube known as a sex pilus. Bacterial viruses known as

can also transfer bacterial genes between cells as they infect the cells. Finally, bacteria can take up naked

that has been released from other cells that have lysed in the process known as transformation.