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Another bacterium, not necessarily of the same strain, picks up the DNA and incorporates it into its own genome.For example, Streptococcus pneumoniae that are not pathogenic can become so by transformation (4).

Having no independent metabolism they can remain viable indefinitely, under the right circumstances.

Instead, for a species to make evolutionary progress, new genes must first be installed into its genome from outside.

We will discuss well-known processes which can install new genes into the genome of a given species. Mutation is the mechanism of genetic change that we hear the most about.

As an illustration of transformation, think of a passenger who jumps overboard from one ship and is later picked up by another one. In conjugation, bacterial cells actually connect, and the "male" donates a piece of DNA to the "female." The piece of DNA in this case was excised earlier from the bacterial chromosome. (Plasmids, being able to pass out of one cell and into another, are similar to viruses.

But they have no protein coat and no "life cycle" different from that of their host cell; in this respect they resemble small chromosomes.) If the transferred genetic material is a passenger on a ship, in the transfer of plasmids by conjugation, the ships come alongside each other and the passenger walks across a gangplank to the new ship.

Every known example of a single-nucleotide mutation, however, is either adaptive within a narrow range, neutral, or deleterious in its effect.

The rare exception is the back-mutation, which merely undoes the damage of a previous mutation and restores the affected strand of DNA to its original condition.There are three kinds of recombination: Bacteria trade genes more frantically than a pit full of traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange — Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan (3) While recombination moves whole blocks of genetic instructions within a cell, other processes move whole blocks of genetic information from one bacterium to another bacterium of a different kind.In the analogy between genes and written text, this move is a transfer of paragraphs or pages from one library to another. Here pieces of genetic instructions are released by a bacterium into its environment.Computer viruses are called viruses because they are analogous to biological viruses that infect living cells.Because viruses are simpler than cells, biologists used to think that maybe viruses were the precellular life forms that Darwinism requires.It might even have been there when you originally acquired the computer.