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A plasmid is a small piece of DNA, usually circular that may coexist with the prokaryotic genome. Some types are able to integrate into the host genome; other types always stay extrachromosomal and distinct from the normal prokaryotic genome. The plasmid can replicate autonomously from the genome and usually codes for genes that are nonessential for cell survival under nonselective conditions. In biotechnology artificially constructed plasmids, cloning vectors, are used as tools to perform cloning.


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