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Thinking Like a Scientist Handout 3B

Plasmid and Bacteria Scenario

Congratulations! Through careful research your team has discovered a procedure for introducing small DNA fragments into a bacterial cell. This procedure, called transformation, involves inserting plasmids--a circular, self-replicating form of DNA found in many species of bacteria--into bacterial cells. To do this you add the plasmid DNA to a bacterial culture. Under the right conditions, the bacteria will take up the plasmid DNA from solution. As the bacterium reproduces, so does the recombinant plasmid. The final result is a bacterial colony in which the foreign plasmid has been cloned, creating genetically identical cells.

You have developed a way to insert foreign DNA into a cell so that it replicates and functions normally to create genetically identical clones. However, you still need a way to change the type of genetic information that the plasmids carry into the cell.

plasmid diagram



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