• Edward A. Birge
Part of the Springer Series in Microbiology book series (SSMIC)


The discovery of the process of conjugation in prokaryotes was due to one of the most fortuitous experimental designs in recent scientific history. Many other scientists had tried to demonstrate conjugation and had failed. Nevertheless, Lederberg and Tatum, working at Yale University, chose to make another attempt using a common laboratory strain of bacteria, Escherichia coli K-12, as their experimental system. They also decided to test only a few different isolates of the strain. Yet, by chance, they chose not only one of the few organisms which readily undergoes conjugation but also a fertile strain of that organism. In so doing they started an extremely fruitful branch of bacterial genetic research.


Donor Cell Normal Fertility Recipient Cell Genetic Transfer Isolate From 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward A. Birge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany and MicrobiologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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