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any agent, such as a plasmid or a virus, that can incorporate foreign DNA and transfer that DNA from one organism to another

recombinant DNA

DNA produced by combining DNA from different sources

restriction enzyme

enzyme that cuts dna at a specific sequence of nucleotides.


a circular DNA molecule that is usually found in bacteria and that can replicate independent of the main chromosome. Used as a vector for carrying genes from one cell to another.

sticky ends

Single stranded ends of DNA left after cutting with enzymes

reverse transcriptase

an enzyme that makes a piece of DNA from mRNA. Useful in making genomic libraries for for specific cells.


Complementary DNA. DNA produced synthetically by reverse trascribing mRNA. Because of eukaryotic mRNA splicing, cDNA contains no inrons.


when an organism takes in foreign DNA

DNA microarray

glass slide carrying thousands of different kinds of single-stranded DNA fragments arranged in a grid; used to detect and measure the expression of thousands of genes at one time

Taq polymerase

an enzyme that replicates DNA and remains stable in hot conditions. This is important for the thermocycler, which replicates the DNA at necessary high temperatures.


a short segment of DNA that serves as the starting point for DNA synthesis; used in PCR to frame targeted sequence of DNA

gel electrophoresis

procedure used to separate and analyze DNA fragments by placing a mixture of DNA fragments at one end of a porous gel and applying an electrical voltage to the gel.


polymerase chain reaction- DNA is copied multiple times to produce many copies of the original molecules helpful when there's only a small DNA sample


a virus that infects bacteria; used as a vector to transfer genes

genomic library

complete collection of cloned DNA fragments from an organism; kept in plasmids or phages

DNA ligase

Enzyme that joins the fragments and new strands to the old strands of DNA


sequence of DNA that is not involved in coding for a protein


a substance that stimulates the immune system to destroy viruses or bacteria

Southern blotting

A technique that enables specific nucleotide sequences to be detected in a sample of DNA. It involves gel electrophoresis of DNA molecules and their transfer to a membrane (blotting), followed by nucleic acid hybridization with a labeled probe.

Agrobacterium tumefaciens

eukaryotic vector specific to plants, has Ti plasmid which causes gall tumors in plants, can transform normal plant cell into cancerous cell if integrated into plant's DNA or used to transfer foreign DNA that can be inserted into plasmid and facilitate insertion of new genes into plants based on plasmid's natural affinity.


A coding region of a eukaryotic gene. Exons, which are expressed, are separated from each other by introns.

Nucleic Acid Probes

identify clones carrying specific genes;nucleotide sequences that define a gene of interest can be labeled radioactively and added to a plate with many colonies of bacteria that might bear the gene of interest. Heating the DNA unwinds it, adding the labeled DNA probe allows binding to the gene of interest. Reading the plate allow identification of colonies with the gene of interest

Restriciton Site

the DNA sequence recognized by a particular restriction enzyme

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