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recombinant DNA

fragment of DNA composed of sequences originating from at least two different sources

restriction endonulceases

enzymes that are able to cleave double-stranded DNA into fragments at specific sequences; also known as restriction enzymes

recognition site

a specific sequence within double-stranded DNA, usually palindromic and consisting of four to eight nucleotides, that a restriction endonuclease recognizes and cleaves

sticky ends

fragment end of a DNA molecule with short single-stranded overhangs, resulting from cleavage by a restriction enzyme

blunt ends

fragment ends of DNA molecule that are fully base paired, resulting from cleavage by a restriction enzyme


enzymes that add a methyl group to one of the nucleotides found in a restriction endonuclease recognition site, altering its chemical composition

DNA ligase

an enzyme used to join together DNA blunt or sticky ends

gel electrophoresis

separation of charged molecules on the basis of size by sorting through a gel meshwork


small circular pieces of DNA that can exit and enter bacterial cells

multiple-cloning site

region in plasmid that has been engineered to contain recognition sites of a number of restriction endonucleases


a fragment of DNA that has been introduced into a foreign cell resulting in exact copies of the original DNA fragment being made when the foreign cell replicates and divides


introduction of foreign DNA, usually by a plasmid or virus, into a bacterial cell


vehicles by which DNA may be introduced into a host cell

host cell

a cell that has taken up a foreign plasmid or virus and whose cellular machinery is being used to express the foreign DNA

competent cell

a cell that readily takes up foreign DNA

genetic engineering

altering the sequence of DNA molecules


a drug identical to human growth hormone (somatotropin) used to treat grwoth deficiency

polymerase chain reaction

amplification of DNA sequence by repeated cycles if strand separation and replication

DNA primers

short sequences of DNA nucleotides that are complementary to the opposing 3' to 5' ends of the DNA target sequence that is to be replicated

taq polymerase

DNA polymerase, extracted from thermus aquaticus, that is able to withstand high temperatures


any difference in DNA sequence, coding or non-coding, that can be detected between individuals


a technique in which DNA regions are digested using restriction endonucleases and subjected to radioactive complementary DNA probes to compare the differences in DNA fragment lengths between individuals


gel pattern imprinted on X-ray film by radioactive probes

sanger dideoxy method

DNA sequencing technique based on DNA replication that uses dideoxy nucleoside triphosphates

dideoxy analogue

nucleoside triphosphate whoe ribose sugar does not possess a hydroxyl group on the 2' and the 3' carbon

genetic screening

process by which an individual's DNA is scanned for genetic mutations

gene therapy

the alteration of genetic sequence in an organism to prevent or treat a genetic disorder


organism in which foreign DNA has been artificially incorporated into its genome

DNA fingerprinting

pattern of bands on a gel, originating from RFLP analysis or PCR, that is unique to each individual

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