Growth and Genetic Exchange of Bacteria

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Chapter: Pharmaceutical Microbiology : Bacteria

For many years it was thought that bacteria, dividing by binary fission, had no opportunity for the exchange of genetic material and could only adapt and evolve through mutation of genes.


GROWTH AND GENETIC EXCHANGE

 

For many years it was thought that bacteria, dividing by binary fission, had no opportunity for the exchange of genetic material and could only adapt and evolve through mutation of genes. This is not only untrue but masks the profound ability of bacteria to exchange and share DNA across diverse genera. This is of particular significance because it enables bacterial populations to adapt rapidly to changes in their environment, whether this is related to the appearance of a novel food or to the deployment of antibacterial chemicals and antibiotics. Three major processes of genetic exchange can be identified in bacteria—transformation, transduction and conjugation. 

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