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updated: July 14, 2024


A plasmid is a small circular DNA molecule found in bacteria and some other microscopic organisms. Plasmids are physically separate from chromosomal DNA and replicate independently. They typically have a small number of genes — notably, some associated with antibiotic resistance — and can be passed from one cell to another. Scientists use recombinant DNA methods to splice genes that they want to study into a plasmid. When the plasmid copies itself, it also makes copies of the inserted gene.