What Is the Genetic Process of Transduction Bacteria?


Quick Answer

Bacterial transduction is the process by which a bacterium's genetic material is transferred to a second bacterium through a viral medium. The types of viruses that can carry out this process are called bacteriophages, which preferentially infect bacteria and use them to produce virus progeny.

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Full Answer

In the viral life cycle, a bacteriophage uses a bacterium's cell machinery to replicate and produce a high number of new bacteriophages. During this process, the virus may incorporate some of the host bacterium's DNA into its own genetic makeup. The process of transduction occurs when the offspring bacteriophage is released and infects a second bacterium. When the virus hijacks this bacterium's cellular processes, the first bacterium's DNA is mixed and added to the second bacterium's DNA.

Bacterial transduction can be either generalized or specified. In generalized transduction, a bacteriophage can incorporate DNA from anywhere in the host bacterium's genome. In specified transduction, on the other hand, a bacteriophage can only incorporate DNA from a specific area of the host's genome. By taking advantage of specialized transduction, geneticists and other scientists have been able to successfully incorporate specific, desired genes into bacterial genomes.

In addition to bacterial transduction, other methods of genetic transfer have been observed in bacteria, including bacterial conjugation, the transfer of episomes and transformation.

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