Competency Of Bacterial Cells

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Purpose statement
To see how cells become competent in order to observe gene transfer, for competency plays a key role in order for transformation to take place.
Transformation is a process which involves the change in a bacterial cells genetic makeup due to the uptake of exogenous DNA (Lorenz and Wackernagel, 1994). This process can happen in two different ways, either naturally or artificially.
Natural transformation is the bacteria’s ability to acquire naked DNA that is free roaming in the environment by being in a state that is achieved naturally termed competency (Transformation – Natural Transformation, n.d.). Competency of bacterial cells is their ability to pick up exogenous DNA and plays a very important
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This form of competency is not encoded in the cells genes like in natural transformation, instead it is created in the laboratory and forced upon the cells. Scientists will do this with chemicals and pulses of electricity. To create competency with chemicals scientist will typically use the divalent method which involves incubating, or keeping the cells at a suitable temperature, while being exposed to divalent ions, such as calcium chloride over ice (Timothy, 2016). The purpose here is to essentially cause a thermal imbalance within the cell that will cause the pores to open and will force the exogenous DNA into the cytoplasm. During electroporation, the cells are exposed to an electrical current that is of high voltage, thus creating small pores that allow entry of the exogenous DNA (Timothy, 2016). The cells are able to hold onto this DNA because during cell repair the pores are then closed shut. With these two process of artificial transformation scientists are able to observe the cells in their competent state by artificially creating it along with the outcomes of the cells after having taken in free

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