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Similarity: All the three methods are similar as it consists of transfer of genetic material by bacteria by means of recombination Bacteria undergoes recombination by taking an extra DNA from other sources. Bacteria undergoes recombination in all the three methods of conjugation , transformation and transduction. The effect of recombination in the three types may be gene conversion, in which a mutant allele becomes wild-type or vice versa.
Difference: Conjugation consists of acquisition of DNA directly from another bacteria, in Transformation the bacteria picks up DNA from the environment while in transduction a bacteria acquires DNA from a bacteriophage intermediate.
Conjugation is a mating process between two bacteria and involves physical contact and transfer of genetic material from one bacterium to another. In transformation, bacteria pick DNA from the environment, from different sources mostly from dead bacterial cells, when the growth conditions are favorable. The newly acquired DNA is single stranded, and can recombine with the host chromosome. In transduction, a viral phage infects bacteria and injects its DNA into the bacterial cell. The viral DNA digests the host, replicates many times and then burst out of the cell to infect other cells.