1. the state of a part of an embryo that enables it to react to a given morphogenetic stimulus by determination and subsequent differentiation, in a given direction. 2. in bacterial or eukaryotic cells, the ability of cells to bind and internalize exogenous DNA molecules, thereby allowing transformation (q.v.). Many bacteria are naturally competent at some stage of their life cycle, while others are not. Bacteria in the latter category and eukaryotic cells can be induced to become competent through biochemical or physical treatments, such as exposure to high concentration of calcium (Ca2+) ions or electroporation (q.v.).
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics — Chemistry.