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updated: June 23, 2024


A vector, as related to molecular biology, is a DNA molecule (often plasmid or virus) that is used as a vehicle to carry a particular DNA segment into a host cell as part of a cloning or recombinant DNA technique. The vector typically assists in replicating and/or expressing the inserted DNA sequence inside the host cell.



Vector. The word "vector" has different meanings depending on the context of use. For example, some would describe a vector as part of the definition of a gene therapy treatment, such as a viral vector. A further example would be the name of the virus attached to the vector, such as an adeno-associated viral vector. In gene therapy applications, vectors are the agents which deliver genes to cells to treat disease.

Charles Venditti
Charles P. Venditti, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief and Senior Investigator

Metabolic Medicine Branch