The key difference between transformation and transmutation is that transformation is an alteration of genetic composition through gene transfer to bring about altered characters while transmutation is the process that completely changes the organism through the influence of a mutation.
Transformation and transmutation are two concepts that appear in the field of evolutionary biology. Over time, organisms have transformed and transmuted to adapt to various environmental conditions. Both terms usually explain the same phenomenon; however, there is a minute difference between transformation and transmutation.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Transformation
3. What is Transmutation
4. Similarities Between Transformation and Transmutation
5. Side by Side Comparison – Transformation vs Transmutation in Tabular Form
What is Transformation?
In biology, transformation refers to the process of horizontal gene transfer, which results in the direct uptake of genetic material. Therefore, the organism alters its own genetic composition. However, the result of the transformation is the addition or removal of characters, not the complete change of the organism’s structure and appearance. The transformation was first observed in bacteria; i.e., the sex pili of bacteria facilitate conjugation that leads to transformation.
Transformation is a method of recombinant DNA technology. The method is now further developed into processes such as transfection, where gene transfer takes place in animal cells, producing recombinants, and transduction, where the gene transfer takes place in bacteriophages. Moreover, transformation is important to bring about favourable characters such as disease resistance, antibiotic resistance and temperature resistance. It is also used as a gene delivery method in gene therapy.
What is Transmutation?
Transmutation is the process where a complete alteration of the organism takes place due to a mutation or a genetic transfer. The organism changes in appearance, structure and its metabolism owing to transmutation. Transmutation is an extremely important process in evolution.
The concepts of transmutation follow Darwin’s theory of evolution; thus, transmutation is an extremely important process in evolution. Moreover, transmutation is also a method of recombinant DNA technology. However, the effect of transmutation is much higher in comparison to transformation. Therefore, the visible change of transmutation is prominent. Due to the prevailing ethical constraints, at present transmutation is not favoured in the society.
What are the Similarities Between Transformation and Transmutation?
- Both are recombinant techniques.
- They alter genetic profiles of organisms.
- Both can be done via gene transfer methods or by inducing mutations.
What is the Difference Between Transformation and Transmutation?
Transformation and transmutation are processes that result in the generation of recombinant organisms with varying degree of alteration. Transformation refers to the horizontal gene transfer resulting in the alternation of genetic matter, giving rise to varying phenotypes, while transmutation refers to the complete change of an organism following the genetic transfer. So, this is the key difference between transformation and transmutation.
The below infographic presents more information on the difference between transformation and transmutation.
Summary – Transformation vs Transmutation
Transformation and transmutation are two concepts that explain evolution. Transformation gives rise to organisms with altered genetic compositions. The effect only takes place to an extent where the organism is not completely changed. In contrast, transmutation gives rise to a completely altered organism. The organism changes in appearance and structure following transmutation. Thus, this summarizes the difference between transformation and transmutation.
1. Jin, Xiaoxing. “Translation and Transmutation: the Origin of Species in China.” British Journal for the History of Science, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Dec. 2018, Available here.
2. “Transformation (Genetics).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Aug. 2019, Available here.
1. “Bacterial Transformation” By Sprovenzano15 – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Darwin’s finches by Gould” By John Gould (14.Sep.1804 – 3.Feb.1881) – From “Voyage of the Beagle“, also online through Biodiversity Heritage Library (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia