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3: Bacterial Genetics

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    Bacterial genetics is the subfield of genetics devoted to the study of bacteria. Bacterial genetics are subtly different from eukaryotic genetics, however bacteria still serve as a good model for animal genetic studies. One of the major distinctions between bacterial and eukaryotic genetics stems from the bacteria's lack of membrane-bound organelles (this is true of all prokaryotes. While it is a fact that there are prokaryotic organelles, they are never bound by a lipid membrane, but by a shell of proteins), necessitating protein synthesis occur in the cytoplasm.

    • 3.1: Horizontal Gene Transfer in Bacteria
      Horizontal gene transfer enables bacteria to respond and adapt to their environment much more rapidly by acquiring large DNA sequences from another bacterium in a single transfer. Horizontal gene transfer is a process in which an organism transfers genetic material to another organism that is not its offspring. Mechanisms of bacterial horizontal gene transfer include transformation, transduction, and conjugation.
    • 3.2: Bacterial Quorum Sensing, Pathogenicity Islands, and Secretion Systems (Injectosomes)
      Pathogenicity is the ability of a microbe to cause disease and inflict damage upon its host; virulence is the degree of pathogenicity within a group or species of microbes. The pathogenicity of an organism is determined by its virulence factors. Virulence factors enable that bacterium to colonize the host, resist body defenses, and harm the body. Most of the virulence factors are the products of quorum sensing genes.
    • 3.3: Enzyme Regulation
      In living cells there are hundreds of different enzymes working together in a coordinated manner, and since cells neither synthesize nor break down more material than is required for normal metabolism and growth, precise enzyme regulation is required for turning metabolic reactions on and off. There is tremendous diversity in the mechanisms bacteria use to regulate enzyme synthesis and enzyme activity.
    • 3.E: Bacterial Genetics (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany Kaiser's "Microbiology" TextMap. Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, which are defined as any microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell (unicellular), cell clusters or no cell at all (acellular). This includes eukaryotes, such as fungi and protists, and prokaryotes. Viruses and prions, though not strictly classed as living organisms, are also studied.

    This page titled 3: Bacterial Genetics is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gary Kaiser via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.