DNA transformation is a naturally occuring but rare event in which DNA can be transferred into bacteria. In 1970, Morton Mandel and Akiko Higa discovered a way to make E. coli more "competent" for transforming foreign DNA. Their calcium chloride method is widely used today to obtain high-efficiency transforming cells.
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Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer inserted the recombinant DNA molecule they created into E. coli bacteria by means of a plasmid, thereby inducing the uptake and expression of a foreign DNA sequence known as "transformation."