Molecular Biology: The Techniques Available

Molecular biology plays a vital role in helping understand formations, regulations, and actions of various cell sections. Through it, medical experts diagnose a disease, target a new drug, or understand cell physiology. With the many techniques available, experts at Eurofins Genomics are there to help you define the perfect experimental setup for your molecular biology research.

What is molecular biology?

It is a branch of biology that studies the structure and function of macromolecules in living organisms. Molecular biology includes molecular synthesis, mechanisms, modification, and interactions. Through molecular biology, you also understand how DNA transcribes into RNA and later translates to protein.

Techniques of molecular biology

1. Molecular cloning

The technique involves replicating the DNA coding for a protein into a plasmid. The procedure takes palace using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or restriction enzymes. Experts can insert the plasmid into an animal or bacterial cells through various processes. They include;

  • Conjunction which involves cell-cell contact
  • Transformation through uptake of naked DNA
  • Transfection entails introducing DNA to eukaryotic cells
  • Transduction through a viral vector

Various systems help express the protein in the cell at high levels. They include specific cell-signaling factors and inducible promoters. Medical experts then extract large protein quantities from the eukaryotic or bacterial cell and test the proteins for enzymatic activity. Sometimes they crystallize them for further studies.

2. Polymerase chain reaction (PSR)

It is a versatile technique for copying DNA. Polymerase chain reaction allows medical experts to copy or modify a specific DNA sequence in prearranged means. Under favorable conditions, the reaction can amplify one DNA molecule into 1.07 billion molecules in a period not exceeding two hours.

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3. Mutagenesis

Site-directed mutagenesis refers to a molecular biology technique that experts use to change the gene DNA sequence and gene products. You can also refer to the method as oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis.

Medical experts use mutagenesis to investigate the biological activity and structure of RNA, DNA, and protein molecules for protein engineering. It is also a vital laboratory technique for creating DNA libraries through mutations’ introduction into a DNA sequence.

4. Gel electrophoresis

The procedure involves the separation of RNA, DNA, and proteins through an electric field. Separation of proteins by size can happen by using SDS-PAGE.

5. Macromolecule blotting and probing

It includes western, eastern, southern, and northern blotting;

  • Southern blotting is a procedure for checking a DNA sample if it has a specific DNA sequence.
  • Northern blotting helps determine particular RNA molecules in different RNA samples. It involves a combination of a blot and denaturing RNA gel electrophoresis.
  • Western blotting uses a technique known as SDS-PAGE to separate proteins by size in a thin gel placed in the middle of two glass plates.
  • Eastern blotting helps identify post-translational protein modification.


6. Allele-specific oligonucleotide

It is a technique that enables experts to detect single base mutations. The procedure does not need gel electrophoresis or polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Key takeaway

Molecular biology is a branch of biology that deals with the structure and functions of macromolecules in living organisms. It involves various techniques like molecular cloning, polymerase chain reaction, mutagenesis, and gel electrophoresis procedures. The above techniques aid in molecular biology research.

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