To manipulate cells and DNA, scientists use tools that are borrowed from nature, including:

Restriction enzymes:
These naturally occurring enzymes are used as a defense by bacteria to cut up DNA from viruses. There are hundreds of specific restriction enzymes that researchers use like scissors to snip specific genes from DNA.

DNA ligase:
This enzyme is used in nature to repair broken DNA. It can also be used to paste new genes into DNA.

These are circular units of DNA. They can be engineered to carry genes of interest.

Bacteriophages (also known as phages):
These are viruses that infect bacteria. Bacteriophages can be engineered to carry recombinant DNA.






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Rebecca Pearson
Editorial Manager