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Extracellular DNA (eDNA) is the result of bacteria releasing their intercellular DNA into the surrounding environment. eDNA then could function as a component for biofilm formation, horizontal gene transfer and genetic transformation. This study attempts to positively correlate the mechanism of actively secreting eDNA from a live and intact cell in Bacillus subtilis to an evolutionary advantageous behavior for individual cells and populations. Our study propagates a gene-level selection experiment in order to build a hierarchy of highly evolved mutants that either secretes more or less amounts of eDNA. Our analysis included monitoring bacteria growth, isolating and quantifying eDNA, and selecting for the highest or lowest secreting eDNA replicate. Our results confirm that the existence of eDNA could be explained by understanding bacterial behavior and the persistence of our selected trait of eDNA secretion amongst mutants in an evolution selection experiment. Future exploration is competition assay in conjunction with this selection experiment.
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Garchitorena, Miguel Ricardo, "Evolution of Extracellular DNA (eDNA) Secretion in Bacillus subtilis" (2017). Senior Projects Spring 2017. 127.