In molecular biology, plasmids are used as cloning vectors, transporting genetic information from one cell to another. Cloning vectors are used to replicate, modify, and temporarily store a specific desired gene sequence. However, by themselves, they are incapable of allowing for transcription and translation of the gene into a functional protein product.
Once a cloning vector is filled with the desired information it is transferred into a robust host organism (most commonly a laboratory strain of E. coli) through a technique known as transformation. Transformed E. coli will replicate the cloning vector, with each individual bacterial cell generating hundreds or even thousands of copies in a very short period of time. In order to transcript the genetic information an expression vector with a functional promoter sequences is required.
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