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What is F plasmid?

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Quick Answer

The F plasmid, also known as the fertility factor or sex factor, contains approximately 100 genes. Through conjugation, the F factor allows genes to be transferred from a bacterium with the factor to a bacterium lacking the factor.

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Full Answer

Conjugation is the fusion of two viable bacterial cells to transfer DNA to each other. During conjugation, gene transfer between bacteria is driven by a DNA plasmid, such as the F plasmid, in the bacterial cells. The plasmid is a circular strand of DNA. Once transferred, it can replicate its own DNA and be transferred to other bacterial cells. Since F plasmids can be easily replicated through intracellular means, they are maintained in the bacterial population.

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