Gene Cloning Glossary

cloned gene

A copy of a gene that has been combined with a plasmid and placed into a bacteria cell.

cloning

Asexually propagating an identical plant.

colonies

A group of identical cells (or bacteria) that develop from a single cell when the cell divides multiple times. The cells are considered 'clones' of the original cell.

colony

A group of identical cells (or bacteria) that develop from a single cell when the cell divides multiple times. The cells are considered 'clones' of the original cell.

DNA

(deoxyribonucleic acid) The molecule that encodes genetic information. DNA is a double-stranded molecule held together by weak bonds between base pairs of nucleotides. It is the fundamental substance of which genes are composed.

DNA markers

DNA sequences that are found at specific loci in species that may vary in sequence among members of that species.

DNA sequence

The order of nucleotides, whether in a fragment of DNA, a gene, a chromosome, or an entire genome.

electroporation

A method of cell transformation using a pulse of electricity to open small temporary holes in the plant or bacteria cells. The foreign DNA mixed with these cells is able to pass into the cell through these holes.

enzymes

Special protein molecules which function in catalyzing chemical reactions.

gene cloning

Finding and making copies of a specific gene. This is the first part of the genetic engineering process.

gene libraries

Collections of cloned DNA molecules representing all or part of an individual's genome.

gene library

A collection of cloned DNA molecules representing all or part of an individual's genome.

genes

The fundamental unit of heredity that carries genetic information from one generation to the next. A gene is an ordered sequence of nucleotides located on a particular position on a particular chromosome that encodes a specific functional protein.

genetic engineering

The process of adding foreign DNA to the genome of an organism.

genome

All the genetic material in the haploid set of chromosomes for a particular organism.

heat shock

A method of cell transformation that opens small temporary holes in the plant cell wall by alternating temperatures between hot and cold. Foreign DNA mixed with these cells is able to pass into the cell through these holes.

marker

An easy to detect trait controlled by a known gene. Markers, such as antibiotic or herbicide resistance, are often used to determine if an organism is transgenic.

nucleotide

A subunit of DNA or RNA consisting of a nitrogenous base (adenine, guanine, thymine, or cytosine in DNA; adenine, guanine, uracil, or cytosine in RNA), a phosphate molecule, and a sugar molecule. Thousands of nucleotides are linked together to form a DNA strand.

nucleotides

The building blocks of DNA and RNA; adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine (DNA only), and uracil (RNA only).

plasmid

A small circular piece of DNA from bacteria that often contains antibiotic resistance genes. Some types have the capability to be replicated in the bacteria and integrate itself into the genome of a plant.

plasmids

Small circular pieces of DNA from bacteria that often contain antibiotic resistance genes. They have the capability of being replicated in the bacteria and integrated into the genome of a plant.

protein

A large molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order. Proteins are necessary for the structure, function, and regulation of an organism's cells, tissues, and organs. Each protein has a unique function determined by its shape.

recombinant DNA

DNA that has been altered and is different from the original sequence.

recombinant plasmid

A plasmid that has been cut with special enzymes and "recombined" in a new order or with DNA from another source.

replicate

The copying of a DNA molecule in a cell.

replicated

Copied DNA. To make copies of DNA.

resistance

The ability of an organism to survive and thrive in the presence of something that would normally cause damage or death, i.e., herbicide-resistant corn, Roundup-ready corn.

restriction enzymes

Enzymes that are able to detect a particular nucleotide sequence and cut the DNA, RNA, or protein at that location.

trait

The characteristic that results from an expressing gene(s). Ex. Upright leaves, drought tolerance, Bt resistance. A trait can be influenced by the environment.

transformation

A process by which extra genetic material is inserted into the cells of an individual.

transgenic plant

A plant that has a new genetically engineered DNA sequence present in every one of its cells. Genetically engineered plants are transgenic plants. These two terms are used interchangeably.

vector

A plasmid, virus, BAC or YAC used to carry a gene(s) of interest.