DNA shuffling: Modifying the hand that nature dealt

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SummaryDNA shuffling is a technique being utilized for in vitro recombination of a single gene or pools of homologous genes. The genes are fragmented into randomly sized pieces, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) reassembly of full-length genes from the fragments, via self-priming, yields recombination due to PCR template switching. After these PCR products are screened and the interesting products sequenced, improved clones are reshuffled to recombine useful mutations in additive or synergistic ways, in effect mimicking the process of natural sexual recombination. Proteins can be ‘bred' with the appropriate individual properties and then their ‘progeny' screened for the desired combination of traits. DNA shuffling is a powerful tool enabling rapid and directed evolution of new genes, operons and whole viral genomes.

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