The restriction modification system (RM system) is found in bacteria and other prokaryotic organisms, and provides a defense against foreign DNA, such as that borne by bacteriophages. Bacteria have restriction enzymes, also called restriction endonucleases, which cleave double stranded DNA at specific points into fragments, which are then degraded further by other endonucleases. This prevents infection by effectively destroying the foreign DNA introduced by an infectious agent (such as a bacteriophage). Approximately one-quarter of known bacteria possess RM systems and of those about one-half have more than one type of system.
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