In the 1970s the key concepts of molecular biology have been worked out theoretically. But experimental evidence for mechanisms mostly relied on the methods of genetics and biochemistry. Geneticists studied individuals with defect genes to find out the function of a gene, while Biochemists tried to study single molecules to find out about their function. With the techniques of cloning molecular biology gained unique tools to engineer and manipulate DNA in order to study function. The rapid growth and use of this technologies have lead to whole scientific areas known as recombinant DNA, Genetic Engineering and more recently Synthetic Biology.
Cloning: an Overview
- Cut DNA at defined sites with Restriction Enzymes
- ligate this DNA into some other DNA called plasmid or vector
- Transform (introduce) the vector into a cell
- plate out the cells on a petri dish
- select the cells that picked up a vector
If for example the whole human DNA was cut by Restriction Enzymes then each cell ideally picks up one gene. In this case, each colonie contains cells producing one single protein. This collection of colonies i called a library.
- MIT: Eric Lander, Robert Weinberg - Introduction to Biology Lecture 15