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MCAT Question A Day - 7/19/13 - Answer!

Bacteria can replicate human genes after specific segments of human DNA have been introduced into the bacterial cell using viruses as vectors. This type of “recombinant DNA” technology applies knowledge gained from studying which of the various forms of sexual reproduction occurring in bacteria?

A.  Transformation
B.  Transduction
C.  Binary fission
D.  Conjugation

The correct answer is (B). Only transduction involves the viral transfer of a DNA segment from one bacterium to another. Transformation occurs when DNA fragments released from a destroyed bacterial cell into the medium are incorporated into another bacterium. Conjugation involves the direct exchange of genetic material between two bacterial cells. Binary fission is an asexual form of reproduction.