2
$\begingroup$

When I look up information related to the identification of disease genes, texts will often refer to the gene being "first cloned." What does "clone" mean in this context? Is it simply a synonym for discovery?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Wiki > molecular cloning might help you. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 4 '15 at 7:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Are there multiple meanings to "clone" as in "clone a gene"? $\endgroup$ – AliceD Dec 4 '15 at 8:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Christiaan I would rather close that question as a duplicate of this one. Chris' answer below is much more informative than the one in the linked question. And yes, it is perfectly "legal" to close older questions as dupes of newer ones - we do it on Stack Overflow all the time. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Dec 4 '15 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo, agreed. I retracted my vote. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Dec 4 '15 at 19:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Christiaan I just submitted my duplicate/close vote on the other one - feel free to join in :) $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Dec 4 '15 at 19:17
5
$\begingroup$

Usually this is used in the context of gene analysis and further characterization. What is done, is that a piece of foreign DNA (either generated by digesting genomic DNA (from human or mouse for example) or by PCR amplification) digested at the end of the DNA to have matching open ends with a bacterial vector.

The DNA of interest is then ligated with the vector and can then be replicated in bacteria and isolated easily in great yields. This plasmid can then further analysed (by restriction analysis, sequencing etc.), the gene or its promoter manipulated and mutated, or in case of protein coding genes the gene overexpressed in the cells. All this is useful to analyze the function of unknown genes. See the figure for a schematic overview (from Campbell AP Biology Book 8th edition, via this website):

enter image description here

Technically making a clone means that you generate multiple genetically identical daughter cells from one precursor.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I think that might be a figure from Campbell Biology. I know you put a link, but you may want to attribute it... as it is copyrighted material. Figure 20.2 in the Ninth Edition, page 397. $\endgroup$ – AMR Dec 4 '15 at 7:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh, I didn't know that - I have adjusted the information. $\endgroup$ – Chris Dec 4 '15 at 7:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I have seen Campbell so much in my life that I can pick their graphics out from 150 meters... :-) Same with Molecular Biology of the Cell and Janeway's Immunology. I can usually spot Nature's cell biology graphics as well. They are all very branded and distinctive. $\endgroup$ – AMR Dec 4 '15 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ That's right. I never used the Campbell very much... $\endgroup$ – Chris Dec 4 '15 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ So basically, the act of cloning the gene is more or less necessary to sequence and characterize it, thus when people say that a gene is first cloned, they're effectively referring to its full characterization? $\endgroup$ – Arcadium Dec 5 '15 at 7:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.