What is the Difference between Cloning and Molecular Biology?


Cloning is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occur in nature when organisms such as bacteria, fungi, insects, or plants reproduce asexually. Examples of such organisms are various trees such as hazel trees, blueberry plants, and the American sweetgum. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments (molecular cloning), cells (cell cloning), or organisms.

The term also refers to the production of multiple copies of a product such as digital media or software. Cloning can be natural or artificial. Examples of cloning that occur naturally are vegetative reproduction in plants, e.g., water hyacinth producing multiple copies of genetically identical plants through apomixis, binary fission in bacteria, and parthenogenesis in certain animals. Clones can also be produced through artificial means.

Making multiple copies by manipulation procedures or biotechnology is artificial cloning such as molecular cloning, where copies of specific gene fragments are produced. Cellular cloning, where single-celled organisms with the exact genetic content of the original cell are produced in cell cultures. Organism cloning, or reproductive cloning, is where a multicellular clone is created generally through somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Molecular biology cloning generally uses DNA sequences from two different organisms. First is the species that is the source of the DNA to be cloned. Second, is the species that will serve as the living host for the replication of the recombinant DNA. Molecular cloning technology is central to many contemporary areas of modern biology and medicine. Long before attempts were made to clone an entire organism, researchers learned how to reproduce desired regions or fragments of the genome, a process that is referred to as molecular cloning.

Plasmids have been repurposed and engineered as vectors for molecular cloning and the large-scale production of important reagents such as insulin and human growth hormone. Molecular cloning has progressed from the cloning of a single DNA fragment to the assembly of multiple DNA components into a single contiguous stretch of DNA.

Molecular Biology Cloning

Molecular cloning is one method in molecular biology that is commonly used to amplify a genetic sequence of interest. This is accomplished by inserting recombinant DNA into a vector which can then carry DNA fragments in host organisms to be amplified

This process of amplification is based on molecular biology standard, first is to recombine the target gene into the vector DNA molecules in vitro. Then transfer the recombinant DNA to host cells. After transferring there is a screening of cells which have expressed the recombinant DNA, after purification and amplification.

Molecular Biology Cloning Technology Process

This is the process by which copies of biomolecules, such as DNAs, are produced. It is used to amplify a particular DNA fragment containing target genes. Apart from the genes (coding sequences), it is also used in making multiple copies of promoters, non-coding sequences, and randomly fragmented DNA. The general steps in molecular cloning are fragmentation, ligation, transfection, screening, or selection.

Isolate the target gene and vector.

  • Direct separation is suitable for the extraction and separation of bacterial chromosomes, plasmids, and virus DNA whose genetic background are of interest to be studied.

  • Gene synthesis is used to generate short DNA fragments whose sequence is known clearly.

  • cDNA can be synthesized by reverse transcription from mRNA.

  • Screening the gene of from the genomic library for molecular cloning.

The target gene and vector are cleaved with a restriction enzyme: This allows the fragments to be more easily connected later.

The target gene and vector are then ligated with DNA ligase: This seals the connection between target gene and vector.

Transfer the ligated recombinant vector into host cells: Bacteria: E. coli, fungi: yeast, insect cells or mammalian cells.

Conduct screening at different levels using different methods to test for quality: For example: vector size, enzyme digestion results, screening markers and so on.


Molecular cloning provides scientists with an essentially unlimited quantity of any individual DNA segments derived from any genome. This material can be used for a wide range of purposes, including those in both basic and applied biological science. A few of the more important applications are summarized here.

  • Genome organization and gene expression

  • Production of recombinant proteins

  • Transgenic organisms

  • Gene therapy


Molecular cloning has progressed from arduously isolating and piecing together two pieces of DNA, followed by intensive screening of potential clones, to seamlessly assembling up to 10 DNA fragments with remarkable efficiency in just a few hours, or designing DNA molecules in silico and synthesizing them in vitro.

Together, all these technologies give molecular biologists an astonishingly powerful toolbox for exploring, manipulating, and harnessing DNA, that will further broaden the horizons of science. Among the possibilities are the development of safer recombinant proteins for the treatment of diseases, enhancement of gene therapy, and quicker production, validation, and release of new vaccines.

Updated on: 18-May-2023


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