Heritable type-specific traits have been induced in meningococcus populations by exposure to desoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-containing extracts derived from meningococcus cells of the type desired. The DNA has been shown to be an essential component of the transforming extract.
As in the H. influenzae system, the reaction between the susceptible cell and the DNA responsible for the heritable change requires less than 15 minutes. Only a minute proportion of the total cells exposed to the DNA extracts for a short time are susceptible to the change; but in the growth and reproduction of bacteria susceptible cells appear with fairly predictable frequency.
Type I specific traits have been induced in populations of RIIa and SIIa cells.
Type IIa specificity has been induced in RIIa cells.