Bacterial and Bacteriophage Genetics: An Introduction by Edward A. Birge

By Edward A. Birge

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Occasionally cells carrying a temperate phage (lysogens) undergo a metabolic shift that reactivates the viral DNA. The result is the same as for an initial lytic response. Some phages may give only lytic responses and some only temperate; some, however, may give either response, depending on the growth conditions. During the course of a phage infection of a bacterial cell, some or all Major Genetic Transfer Processes 35 of the viral DNA inside an individual virion (virus particle) may be replaced by bacterial DNA.

Instead, the viral DNA is replicated along with the host DNA, usually as an integral part of the same molecule, and is transmitted to all progeny cells. Occasionally cells carrying a temperate phage (lysogens) undergo a metabolic shift that reactivates the viral DNA. The result is the same as for an initial lytic response. Some phages may give only lytic responses and some only temperate; some, however, may give either response, depending on the growth conditions. During the course of a phage infection of a bacterial cell, some or all Major Genetic Transfer Processes 35 of the viral DNA inside an individual virion (virus particle) may be replaced by bacterial DNA.

In so doing, however, it transfers the DNA fragment from the previous host's chromosome. If the newly infected cells are not killed and if the DNA fragment can either replicate or recombine, the result is the production of transductants. The amount of DNA transferred by this means varies considerably but generally has as a maximum the amount of DNA normally present in a single bacteriophage particle. In some cases, it approaches 200 kb in length. The actual amount of DNA recombined is generally somewhat less and, in addition, depends on whether the transduction is generalized or specialized.

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