Natural genetic transformation: prevalence, mechanisms and function

Res Microbiol. 2007 Dec;158(10):767-78. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2007.09.004. Epub 2007 Oct 2.


Studies show that gene acquisition through natural transformation has contributed significantly to the adaptation and ecological diversification of several bacterial species. Relatively little is still known, however, about the prevalence and phylogenetic distribution of organisms possessing this property. Thus, whether natural transformation only benefits a limited number of species or has a large impact on lateral gene flow in nature remains a matter of speculation. Here we will review the most recent advances in our understanding of the phenomenon and discuss its possible biological functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / physiology
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal*
  • Transformation, Bacterial*


  • DNA, Bacterial