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F factor

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A DNA sequence or plasmid that confers certain bacteria the ability to produce a sex pilus for conjugation with other bacteria.


The F factor is episomal. It can therefore occur as an independent plasmid. However, it can also integrate into the bacterial genome or chromosome. Hence, bacteria may be classified in relation with the F factor:

The F factor may also be used to designate a bacterial cell as either a "male" or a "female". The donor bacteria is ascribed as male whereas the recipient of the genetic material is attributed as female.