Recombinant DNA Technology

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Biotechnology, we can say it is biology plus technology, or, it is the technology whose foundation is biology. Biotechnology is not new in scenario. In fact bread, cheese, curd and wine are all products of biotechnology and known from centuries. In modern sense, biotechnology is useful in production of DNA vaccines, antibodies, hormones, genetically-modified (GM) crops and even the test-tube baby. One more very famous example in this queue is “SHEEP DOLLY”.

  • According to European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) biotechnology is ‘The integration of natural science and organisms, cells, parts thereof, and molecular analogues for products and services’.
  • It deals with techniques of using live organisms or enzymes from organisms to produce products and processes useful to humans.
  • Modern biotechnology is basically Genetic Engineering. Genetic Engineering involves changing the phenotype of host organism by altering its genetic material (DNA or RNA), OR use of experimental techniques to produce DNA molecules containing new genes or new combinations of genes.
  • Genetic engineering also known as Recombinant DNA technology as it involves techniques to identify, isolate and recombine useful DNA’s from different sources to form recombinant DNA and transferring recombinant DNA into host organism to introduce new characteristics.
  • rDNA technology was discovered by Stanley Norman Cohen and Herbert Boyer in 1973.
  • There are 3 basic steps in genetically modifying an organism or in recombinant DNA technology-
    (i) Identification of DNA with desirable genes;
    (ii) Introduction of the identified DNA into the host;
    (iii) Maintenance of introduced DNA in the host and transfer of the DNA to its progeny.

Common terminology used in rDNA technology

  • Vector: Also known as transport vehicle, as they transport the gene of interest or desired DNA molecule into host. Vector is a DNA molecule, basically a plasmid. Vector should be capable of replication in a host organism.
  • Plasmid: Small circular piece DNA, independent of the host chromosome, found in bacteria. They are capable of independent replication.
  • Clone: Population of identical cells containing identical recombinant DNA molecules.
  • Gene cloning: Making multiple identical copies of any template DNA. Or , Insertion of DNA fragment carrying a gene of interest into a cloning vector, and subsequent multiplication of recombinant DNA molecule in a host organism is called gene cloning.
  • Gene therapy: It is a clinical procedure in which a gene or other DNA sequence is used to treat a disease.
  • Origin of replication: The specific position on a DNA molecule where DNA replication
  • Transformation: Mechanism of introduction of recombinant DNA molecule into host cell.
  • Transgenic: Referring to an animal or plant, containing recombinant DNA in its genetic material.
  • Recombinant: A cell containing DNA molecules from two different sources.
  • Restriction Enzymes:  Enzymes which cut DNA at specific locations,  also called as “molecular scissors”.


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