Difference between F Plasmid and R Plasmid

F Plasmid

F Plasmid is characterised by the presence of F or fertility factor. It is also called the sex factor as it helps in the transfer of genetic materials from one bacterium to another. Usually, only bacterium shows the presence of the F factor, and the exchange happens through conjugation. In other words, conjugation happens between F+ and Fcells, and the resultant is two F+ cells.

R Plasmid

It is a plasmid that has antibiotic resistance genes or resistance factors. Their R factor can produce genes that can pump out or modify antibiotics. Many plasmids carry both the F factor and R factor together. The presence of the R factor is the major reason for growing antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

A bacterium with an F factor conjugates with another bacterium through a controlled pore. R factors can also be pumped through this pore. As most bacteria have F and R factors, hence it is easy to spread antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Transduction and transformation are other methods through which the resistance factor is transferred.

Explore: R-Factor

Difference between F Plasmid and R Plasmid

F Plasmid

R Plasmid

F plasmid has the fertility factor necessary for conjugation.

R plasmid has an antibiotic resistance gene or resistance factor.

It has F or fertility factor.

It has R or resistance factor.

It can form sex pilus and can transfer genetic materials through conjugation.

It cannot form sex pilus. But, a bacterium with an F factor can pump the resistance gene to another bacterium.

When conjugation happens between F+ and Fcells, the resultant is two F+ cells. Also, the spread of F+ cells is not a big threat.

When the R factor is transferred, it creates antibiotic resistance in the bacteria. Thus, the spread of R factor is a threat to antibiotic treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between F Plasmid and R Plasmid

What are plasmids?

It is an extrachromosomal circular DNA that can replicate independently. Most of them are small, double-stranded and circular structures in bacteria. They carry genes essential for the survival of an organism. Also, they are used as vectors in molecular biology as they can replicate independently.

How does a bacterial conjugation occur?

It is a horizontal gene transfer mechanism by which genetic information is transferred between two bacterial cells. The cells are connected through a sex pilus. The sex pilus is usually produced by the F plasmid (donor) and it attaches to the recipient cell. Now both cells combine, circularise their plasmids and produce viable donors.

Also Read: Bacterial Genetics

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