Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Juli Peretó
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1602-2


Transformation is a process in which a cell takes up and functionally integrates exogenous DNA. There are many examples of natural transformation between bacteria, virus and bacteria, bacteria and plants, or virus and eukaryotic cells. Genetic engineering techniques are artificial adaptations of cases of natural transforming systems.


The process of transformation was initially described by Fred Griffith (1877–1941) in 1928 (Griffith 1928). The experiments on the transformation of pneumococcal bacteria, published in 1944 by T. Oswald Avery (1877–1955), Colin MacLeod (1909–1972), and Maclyn McCarty (1911–2005), established that the genetic information is chemically written in DNA (Avery et al. 1944).

See Also

References and Further Reading

  1. Avery OT, MacLeod CM, McCarty M (1944) Studies on the chemical nature of the substance inducing transformation of pneumococcal types. Induction of transformation by a desoxyribonucleic acid fraction isolated from pneumococcus type III. J Exp Med 79:137–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Griffith F (1928) The significance of pneumococcal types. J Hyg 27:113–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, Universitat de ValènciaValènciaSpain