The flow of genetic information in bacteria can be represented by:
As shown, there are two ways that genetic information can flow:
- Information is transferred between bacterial generations. This occurs when DNA replicates and is distributed to two identical daughter cells through the process of binary fission.
- Information is transferred within the bacterial cell. The result of this transfer are proteins needed for cell growth and metabolism. Because DNA and protein have different chemical components, DNA must first be transcribed into mRNA and then translated into a protein.
As these molecules and processes are vital to bacterial existence we will discuss each in some detail: