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The spread of antimicrobial resistance and vaccine escape in the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae can be largely attributed to competence-induced transformation. Here, we studied this process at the single-cell level. We show that within isogenic populations, all cells become naturally competent and bind exogenous DNA. We find that transformation is highly efficient and that the chromosomal location of the integration site or whether the transformed gene is encoded on the leading ordoi:10.7554/elife.58771.sa2 fatcat:scnheyeoazbpnk7gde6xdxlf6u