Molecular Life Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert D. Wells, Judith S. Bond, Judith Klinman, Bettie Sue Siler Masters, Ellis Bell

Plasmid Cloning Vectors

Living reference work entry


Plasmids are cloning vectors that are maintained in cells as autonomously replicating circular double-stranded DNA molecules. A great many cloning vectors that are in use today were derived from naturally occurring plasmids. DNA sequences that may allow for selection of host cells containing the plasmid, convenient addition of DNA inserts, partitioning of replicated plasmids to daughter cells during cell division, high-level expression of genes cloned into the plasmid, and other functions are found in or have been added to these natural molecules. Plasmid cloning vectors exist for use in bacteria, yeast, and higher eukaryotic cells. This short entry describes the history and features of some of the important plasmid cloning vectors.


Many important cloning vectors are derived from naturally occurring plasmids. Plasmids are circular DNA molecules that are maintained as an episome, or extrachromosomal DNA molecule, inside a cell (Sherratt 1974). The plasmid must...


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry & BiochemistryUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA