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10: DNA as the Genetic Material

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    • 10.1: Introduction
      Any uptake of genetic information from the external environment into cells that results in the expression of new traits is called genetic transformation. This process can occur naturally. Some bacteria are referred to as being “competent” to indicate that they are capable of taking DNA into the cell from the environment. This is referred to as natural competence. Bacteria are also capable of conjugation where plasmids from one bacteria are sent to another through the conjugation pilus.
    • 10.2: Bacterial Transformation (Activity)
      Escherichia coli are commensal gram-negative bacteria found in the guts of humans. They have the capacity to double every twenty minutes and make a favorable carrier of recombinant DNA. Plasmid DNA can be introduced into E. coli easily after making them competent. One method to achieve this is through chemical competence with heat shock. In this process, the bacteria are incubated in CaCl2 solution on ice.

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