Mobil Genetic Elements -- Viruses and Plasmids

ID #1436

Are plasmids already in prokaryotes, or do they get in through conjugation, or attachment and injection like in the case for virus?


Where the first plasmid came from is a matter of conjecture, but once established, they can be transferred to other cells via conjugation. That's the "natural" way for DNA to be shared between bacterial cells.  There's also the less-common (at least in nature) method of transformation, which is the uptake of naked DNA from the surroundings, like perhaps a bacterial cell that got broken open and "spilled" its plasmid(s), only to have one of them picked up by a different cell.

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