Transformation - Bacterial Reproduction

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Chapter: Pharmaceutical Microbiology : Bacteria

In 1928 Griffith noticed that a culture of Streptococcus pneumoniae that had mutated to become deficient in capsule production could be restored to its normal capsulate form by incubation with a cell-free filtrate taken from a culture of the normal strain.


TRANSFORMATION

 

In 1928 Griffith noticed that a culture of Streptococcus pneumoniae that had mutated to become deficient in capsule production could be restored to its normal capsulate form by incubation with a cell-free filtrate taken from a culture of the normal strain. While this discovery preceded the discovery of DNA as the genetic library and was only poorly understood at the time, it demonstrated the ability of certain types of bacteria to absorb small pieces of naked DNA from the environment that may recombine into the recipient chromosome. The process has become known as transformation and is likely to occur naturally in situations such as septic abscesses and in biofilms where high cell densities are associated with death and lysis of significant portions of the population. Transformation is also exploited in molecular biology as a means of transferring genes between different types of bacteria.

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