Transduction (genetics)

From Academic Kids

Transduction is the process in which bacterial DNA is moved from one bacterium to another by a bacterial virus (a bacteriophage, commonly called a phage). When bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) infect a bacterial cell, their normal mode of reproduction is to harness the DNA replication machinery of the host bacterial cell and make numerous copies of their own DNA or RNA. These copies of bacteriophage DNA or RNA are then packaged into newly synthesized copies of bacteriophage virions.

However, the packaging of bacteriophage DNA is not fool-proof and at some low frequency, small pieces of bacterial DNA will be packaged into a bacteriophage virion instead of the bacteriophage genome. Viruses with RNA genomes are not able to package DNA and so don't usually make this mistake.

Upon lysis of the host cell, the mispackaged virions containing bacterial DNA can attach to other bacterial cells and inject the DNA they have packaged, thus transferring bacterial DNA from one cell to another. This DNA can become part of the new bacterium's chromosome and thus be stably inherited.

More generally, transduction is the process by which genetic material, e.g. DNA or siRNA, is inserted into a cell. Common techniques in molecular biology are the use of viral vectors (including bacteriophages), electroporation, or chemical reagents that increase cell permeability. Transfection is a more common term, although transfection sometimes implies expression of the genetic material as well.

Alternatively, transduction can be shorthand for Signal transduction.

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