(Science: technique) technique for testing the genetic characteristics of bacterial colonies. A dilute suspension of bacteria is first spread, in a petri dish, on agar containing a medium expected to support the growth of all bacteria, the master plate. Each bacterial cell in the suspension is expected to give rise to a colony. A sterile velvet pad, the same size as the petri dish, is then pressed onto it, picking up a sample of each colony. The bacteria can then be stamped onto new sterile petri dishes, plates, in the identical arrangement. The media in the new plates can be made up to lack specific nutritional requirements or to contain antibiotics. Thus colonies can be identified that cannot grow without specific nutrients or that are antibiotic resistant and cells with mutations in particular genes can be isolated.