Cloning and Mapping


Transformation is the process by which bacteria acquire and express exogenous DNA, effectively becoming recombinant organisms. The ability of a cell to be transformed is known as its competence. Transformation can occur in two ways: natural transformation and artificial transformation. Natural transformation describes the uptake and incorporation of naked DNA from the cell’s natural environment. Artificial transformation encompasses a wide array of methods for inducing bacterial uptake of DNA. Most methods of artificial transformation involve using divalent cations to increase the permeability of the bacterium’s membrane, thereby increasing the likelihood of DNA acquisition. Another artificial method of transformation is electroporation, in which cells are shocked with an electric current, tearing holes in the cell’s membrane. With a newly-compromised cell membrane, the transforming DNA is free to pass into the cytosol of the bacterium for expression.

FAQs for Transformation

Protocols for Transformation