This animation shows how bacteria can transfer genes to each other.
As shown in the animation, a bacterium can directly transfer genetic material to another bacterium using a structure called a pilus. This cell-to-cell transfer process, called conjugation, helps antibiotic resistance genes spread quickly throughout a bacterial population.
This animation is a clip from a 1999 Holiday Lecture Series, 2000 and Beyond: Confronting the Microbe Menace. Depending on students’ background, it may be helpful to pause the animation at various points to discuss different features.