Do Bacteria Have Sex?
Bacteria, by classification, are prokaryotic organisms. Judging by this fact alone, one might be inclined to say that they would exclusively undergo asexual reproduction, however this is not a simple question. While the primary method of bacterial cell cycle is binary fission, there are three other methods, which are not so asexual in theory or practice. The genetics of a bacterium are fairly simple, where most bacteria have one circular chromosome. Bacteria have the ability to exchange their genetic material with other cells through three different processes known as transformation, transduction, and conjugation. Transformation involves bacteria absorbing DNA from the environment and encoding it into it’s own chromosome. Transduction is a process in which a bacteriophage attaches itself to a bacterium and can inject its own (or foreign) DNA into the bacteria and alter its genetics. The third way, conjugation, is cell-to-cell contact in which two bacteria will physically connect to one another and exchange DNA in what is known as horizontal gene transfer. Because of the different ways in which bacteria can acquire DNA and replicate itself, it is not possible to say for sure whether or not they really undergo sexual reproduction or not. The easiest answer would be not really but partially.