Do Bacteria Have Genetic Material? 9 Facts You should Know


These articles illustrate all-around information “Do bacteria have genetic material or not?” with 9 facts in detail.

The genetic material of bacteria is float freely within the region of cytoplasm without any membrane-bound nucleus or cell organelles are known as a nucleoid or genophore that mainly contains DNA, RNA, and some amount of protein.

Now take a look this all 9 facts one by one in brief

Do all bacteria have genetic material?

Yes, All bacteria contain genetic material such as nucleic acid called DNA, but the arrangement of genetic material is different compared to eukaryotes. It also contains extra-chromosomal DNA known as a Plasmid DNA. The plasmid DNA is circular and in supercoiled form, but some of the species also contain some linear plasmids namely Streptomyces and borrelia.

The genetic material of bacteria has a circular shape which acts as a self-replicating genetic element also known as a replicon. The two most important functions of this genetic material is an expression which is responsible for the phenotype of the particular organisms and replication which is responsible for the duplication of genetic material and they replicate so accurately.Unlike eukaryotic genetic material, a bacterial cell has several nucleoids, while some bacteria have more than four nucleoids

Where is the genetic material in bacteria?

The region in the cytoplasm, where the genetic material floats freely is referred to as nucleoid. Unlike eukaryotes, the genetic material of bacteria is present in the irregular-shaped cytoplasmic region and is not membrane-bound.

Nucleoid is a naked circular molecule of DNA the main function of a replicon means it acts as a self-replicating genetic element. Compare to the cell dimensions, the length of this nucleoid is very large and is formed with the help of RNA molecules, DNA supercoiling as well as Chromosomal architectural proteins. This nucleoid work as a genetic material having 80% DNA, 10% RNA, and 10% protein.most of the genetic material of the bacteria are double standard and circular,the amount of DNA which determine the maximum amount of information that it can encode.

How do bacteria get new genetic material?

The Process is named conjugation via which bacteria get new genetic material. In this process, one bacteria act as a donor of genetic material, and the other act as a recipient. This mechanism has a bridge-like connection or cell-to-cell contact between two cells.

There are several benefits for bacteria to get new genetic material via the process of conjugation include, including Xenobiotic tolerance and antibiotic resistance, and increase genetic diversity among bacteria. The conjugation process begins step by step in which the first donor cell produce some pilus that will start to attach to the recipient cells and bring to cell together. both cells will start to make or synthesize complementary strands with also reproduce pili.

How do bacteria share DNA?

The bacteria share their genetic material via several mechanisms commonly known as a genetic exchange process. The bacteria exchange their genetic material among the bacteria. These genetic exchange processes include transformation, transduction, and conjugation.

The bacteria pass their genetic material as DNA from one cell to another via these three genetic exchange processes. It is sometimes also referred to as lateral or horizontal gene transfer. In the process of transformation, from the environment bacteria take the DNA that’s been shed by other bacteria while transduction, the genetic material of bacteria accidentally moves from one bacteria to another by a virus, the viruses first infect the bacteria and convert it into short pieces of chromosomal DNA randomly and move them accidentally.

The most common example of a virus that does this process is Bacteriophage. In the process of conjugation, bacteria transfer genetic material from one bacterium to another via pilus, which is a hair-like structure arranged helically to form a cylinder.

Do bacteria have genetic material example
Image from Wikipedia

How many genes do bacteria have?

It mainly depends on the specific type and strain of bacteria, because every type of bacteria and every strain has a wide-ranging number of genes. But the sequence of the genome shows that free-living bacteria have 1500-1200 genes, parasitic bacteria have 500-1200 genes and archaea have 1500-2700 genes

The size of the gene is generally less variable and smaller compared with eukaryotes. There is as much diversity in the group of bacteria as there is in plants, animals, and other multicellular living beings. For example, soil bacteria have almost 12,000 protein-coding genes while E.coli has around 5000 genes. Bacillus subtilis have around 4400 protein coading genes, Staphylococcus aureus have almost 2700 and Vibrio cholera have 3900 while Buchnera species contain only 610 proten coading genes.

What are the features of bacterial genetic material?

The genetic material of the bacteria is double-stranded DNA and a haploid genome and it also contains extra-chromosomal smaller circular DNA known as a Plasmid DNA that contains just a few genes having antibiotic resistance gene

The main feature of plasmid DNA is, that it has its origin of replication whereas it can copy itself independently of the bacterial chromosome. It varies from less than 5 to several hundred Kbps and large as 2Mbp occurs in some bacteria.The genetic material of bacteria has only a few developmental and structural features but they have a particular set of growth conditions that determine the phenotype of an organism.The two very important feature and function of genetic material is replication and expression.

The replication fulfills the genetic material requirements, during the time of cell division the genetic material to be inherited by each daughter cell and also be reproduced accurately.The DNA of bacteria has genetic information which flows from DNA to RNA to protein.

The information is mainly expressed by the synthesis of specific RNA and proteins.The genetic material of bacteria contains replicons in which the number of replicons differs among the strain of bacteria. for example, the strain of E.coli has a single replicon while other strains of bacteria have additional replicons such as bacteriophages and plasmids.

Do bacteria have both DNA and RNA?

Bacteria have both DNA and RNA. Bacteria, like all other life forms, store their genetic information as DNA. Which are single, circular chromosomes.

For the formation of the functional molecule, organisms must have the ability to convert their genetic information into a functional one, which is all done by using DNA as a template for the synthesis of an RNA molecule. After that RNA molecule is used to carry out protein synthesis. All blueprints whether RNA or DNA are processed through RNA into proteins inside living cells.

Thus, all organisms including bacteria, have both DNA and RNA.The main function of RNA in bacteria carries the information for the functional protein. They contain mostly small RNAs (sRNAs) around 40 to 500 nucleotides long that are involved in many biological processes including gene expression regulation and can sense environmental changes.

What is the difference between bacterial DNA and human DNA?

According to the size, complexity, and gene, there are major differences between bacterial DNA and human DNA. The most complex and major differences between both are due to gene regulation and expression systems, but the genetic material is present in both in the form of chromosomes.

The first most common difference among them is bacteria which is prokaryotic whereas humans come in the category of eukaryotes. Based on the number and shape, humans have 23 pairs of linear chromosomes while bacteria have only a single circular-shaped chromosome with no ends on both sides.In humans, the amount of human genomic DNA present with histone protein refers to as chromatin.

It is large and is packed with or wrapped around histone protein octamer which forms supercoiled compact form of DNA. While In bacteria Histone protein is absent, thus the DNA is easily floated in a cytoplasmic area referred to as a nucleoid.

Another most common difference between them is human DNA has a noncoding sequence generally known as an intron while bacteria don’t have sequences like introns.Bacteria contain small, circular extra-chromosomal DNA known as a plasmid while in Human DNA, extra chromosomes are absent. In bacteria around, 1000 genes are present while in humans, the human genome project is estimated approximately around 25000 genes.

What type of organism have no genetic material at all?

There are no exceptions to that rule. All living organisms have genetic material either DNA or RNA, the genetic information is passed from one generation to another.

The difference is only that the prokaryotes have their genetic material without any membrane, and lack a nucleus and membrane organelles, while eukaryotes have a different arrangement and consistency of genetic material. because in living forms the material includes DNA and genes that control the reproduction, development, and maintenance of organisms, it allow living things to function and that is also  linked with individual members and generationsFor organisms to survive, it is important to have genetic material at all for all living things.

Click to read more on Do Eukaryotes Have Introns.

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