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conjugation (kon-ju-ga´shun)

1. The union of two unicellular organisms or of the male and female gametes of multicellular forms followed by partition of the chromatin and the production of two new cells. 2. Bacterial c., effected by simple contact, usually by means of specialized pili through which transfer genes and other genes of the plasmid are transferred to recipient bacteria. 3. Sexual reproduction among protozoan ciliates, during which two individuals of appropriate mating types fuse along part of their lengths; their macronuclei degenerate and the micronuclei in each macronucleus divide several times (including a meiotic division); one of the resulting haploid pronuclei passes from each conjugant into the other and fuses with the remaining haploid nucleus in each conjugant; the organisms then separate (becoming exconjugants), undergo nuclear reorganization, and subsequently divide by asexual mitosis. 4. The combination, especially in the liver, of certain toxic substances formed in the intestine, drugs, or steroid hormones with glucuronic or sulfuric acid; a means by which the biological activity of certain chemical substances is terminated and the substances made ready for excretion. 5. The formation of glycyl or tauryl derivatives of the bile acids. [L. con-jugo, pp. -jugatus, to join together]


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