The discovery of infectious protein that changed the concept of inheritance is transduction.
Transduction is the process by which DNA is transferred from one bacterium to another by a virus. It also refers to the process whereby foreign DNA is introduced into another cell via a viral vector. This is a common tool used by molecular biologists to stably introduce a foreign gene into a host cell’s genome.
When bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) infect a bacterial cell, their normal mode of reproduction is to harness the replicational, transcriptional, and translation machinery of the host bacterial cell to make numerous virions, or complete viral particles, including the viral DNA or RNA and the protein coat. Transduction happens through either the lytic cycle or the lysogenic cycle.
If the lysogenic cycle is adopted, the phage chromosome is integrated into the bacterial chromosome, where it can remain dormant for thousands of generations. If the lysogen is induced (by UV light for example), the phage genome is excised from the bacterial chromosome and initiates the lytic cycle, which culminates in lysis of the cell and the release of phage particles. The lytic cycle leads to the production of new phage particles which are released by lysis of the host.