Natures wonders: Bacteria use spears (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, January 02, 2015, 15:20 (1884 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by dhw, Saturday, January 03, 2015, 09:31

To attack others and obtain horizontal gene transfer:

"The researchers grew these bacteria on chitin surfaces that simulated their natural habitat on crustaceans. What they found was that the tiny spear is not only part of V. cholerae's natural survival system, but it also contributed to the transfer of genes that could make the bacterium more resistant to threats, even to antibiotics. The researchers then used genetic and bioimaging techniques to identify, in real time, which mechanisms are involved in this event, which is called "horizontal gene transfer".

"Using this mode of DNA acquisition, a single V. cholerae cell can absorb fragments containing more than 40 genes from another bacterium," says Melanie Blokesch. "That's an enormous amount of new genetic information." This phenomenon is referred to as "horizontal" gene transfer, as opposed to the conventional "vertical" passage of genes from parent to offspring."

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