What is cDNA?

DNA and RNA Read more from
Chapter DNA, RNA, Chromosomes, and Genes

Complementary DNA (cDNA) is single-stranded DNA that is complementary to a certain sequence of messenger RNA. It is usually formed in a laboratory by the action of the enzyme reverse transcriptase on a messenger RNA template. Complementary DNA is a popular tool for molecular hybridization or cloning studies. For example, if scientists are cloning a human gene in a bacterium, the long intervening, noncoding sequences called introns get in the way. Thus the scientists must insert a gene with no introns, so they take mRNA from cells and use the enzyme called reverse transcriptase to make DNA transcripts of this RNA. The resulting DNA molecule— cDNA—has the complete coding sequence the researchers need without the introns.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Biology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App