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BSC 219
Bacterial and Viral Genetics
8.1 Genetic Analysis of Bacteria Requires Special Approaches and Methods
Techniques for the Study of Bacteria
Prototrophic – wild type
Auxotrophic – mutant type
Minimum medium: only required by prototrophic bacteria
Complete medium: contain all substance required by all bacteria, including
auxotrophic bacteria
Mostly single, circular DNA molecule/chromosome
Single copy of most genes
No dominant or recessive
Expressed or not
Little to no space between genes
No nucleus, so no separation of transcription and translation
Extra chromosome, small circular DNA
Episomes – plasmids / F (fertility) factor
Horizontal Transfer
Direct transfer via connection tube, one-way traffic from donor cells to recipient cells.
It is not a reciprocal exchange of genetic information.
F+ cells donor cells containing F factor
F− cells recipient cells lacking F factor
Sex Pilus – connection tube
Hfr cells: (high-frequency strains) – donor cells with F factor integrated into the
donor bacterial chromosome
F prime (F′) cells: contain F plasmid carrying some bacterial genes
Merozygotes: partial diploid bacterial cells containing F plasmid carrying some
bacterial genes
Mapping bacterial genes with interrupted Conjugation: Distances between genes
are measured by the time required for DNA transfer from Hfr cells to F− cells.
Natural Gene Transfer and Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance comes from the actions of genes located on R plasmids that can
be transferred naturally.
R plasmids have evolved in the past 60 years since the beginning of
widespread use of antibiotics.
The transfer of R plasmids is not restricted to bacteria of the same or even related
A bacterium takes up DNA from the medium.
Recombination takes place between introduced genes and the bacterial chromosome.
Competent cells: cells that take up DNA
Transformants: cells that receive genetic material
Cotransformed: cells that are transformed by two or more genes
Bacterial Genome Sequences:
1 ~ 4 million base pairs of DNA
Horizontal Gene Transfer:
Genes can be passed between individual members of different species by
nonreproductive mechanisms.
Model Genetic Organism:
The bacterium Esherichia coli
Bacterial viruses (bacteriophage) carry DNA from one bacterium to another.
Transduction usually occurs between bacteria of the same or closely related species.
Virus: Replicating structure (DNA/RNA) + protein coat
Bacteriophage: bacterial infection viruses
Virulent phages: reproduce through the lytic cycle, and always kill the host cells.
Temperate phages: inactive prophage–phage DNA integrates into bacterial
Transduction: using phage to map bacterial genes
General transduction: any genes can be transferred
Specialized transduction: only a few genes can be transferred
Gene Mapping in Phages
Retrovirus: RNA viruses that have been integrated into the host genome
Reverse Transcriptase: synthesizing DNA from RNA or DNA template