Difference Between Gene Cloning and PCR

Main Difference

The main difference between Gene Cloning and PCR is that Gene Cloning is a technique through which desired DNA or gene can be produced in vivo by forming rDNA (recombinant DNA) whereas PCR is a technique in which DNA amplification is done invitro by repeated cycles of strand separation and polymerization.

Gene Cloning vs. PCR

Formation of multiple copies of DNA from a single desired one is known as DNA proliferation or DNA amplification. Following two methods are generally used to amplify DNA, i.e., Gene cloning and PCR or polymerase chain reaction. These two are biotechnology products that play an important role in understanding diseases. Through these molecular techniques, a scientist can make more and more copies of desired DNA. Gene cloning is a technique through which desired DNA or gene of interest can be obtained in vivo (within an organism) by forming rDNA (recombinant DNA, a DNA molecule that carries genetic material from multiple sources). On the other hand, PCR that stands for polymerase chain reaction is a technique through which DNA is amplified invitro (in a test tube rather than a living organism) by repeated cycles of stand separation and polymerization without using rDNA. For gene cloning, a large quantity of DNA is required for amplification, i.e. at least a microgram whereas, only a nanogram of DNA is enough in PCR for amplification. Moreover, bacterial cells, DNA ligase, vector DNA, and restriction enzymes are required for gene cloning. On the flip side, a thermostable DNA polymerase, DNA nucleotides, and RNA primers along with DNA segment are required in PCR technique. Gene cloning is a labor-intensive process and has more possibilities of errors, while PCR does not require intensive labor and has less possibility of errors.

Comparison Chart

Gene CloningPCR
A technique of DNA amplification in which required DNA can be obtained in vivo by forming rDNA (recombinant DNA) and introducing it into bacteria is known as gene cloning.A technique of DNA amplification in which required DNA can be obtained in vitro by repeated cycles of stand separation and polymerization is known as PCR or polymerase chain reaction.
History
In the 1800s, Hans Driesch was the first who cloned animals.In 1983, Kary Mullis invented PCR technique.
Use of Recombinant DNA
Recombinant DNA is used in gene cloning.There is no need of rDNA in PCR.
Required Quantity of DNA
For gene cloning, more quantity of DNA is required for amplification, i.e., at least a microgram.Only a nanogram of DNA is enough in PCR for amplification.
Requirements
Bacterial cells, DNA ligase, vector DNA, and restriction enzymes are required for gene cloning.A thermostable DNA polymerase, DNA nucleotides, and RNA primers along with the DNA segment, are required in PCR technique.
Screening
In gene cloning, amplified DNA need to be screened at the final step to get desired DNA.If the DNA is pure before starting the reaction, there is no need for screening in PCR.
Required Time
Gene cloning takes 2 to 4 days for an experiment.In PCR, 4 hours are enough for an experiment.
Automation
There is no need for automation.Automation is a must in PCR.
Need for Labour
Gene cloning is a labor-intensive process.PCR does not require intensive labor.
Error Possibility
It has more possibilities for errors.It has less possibility of errors.
Uses
The DNA that is amplified through gene cloning has limited uses.A PCR amplified DNA can be used for multiple purposes due to less possibility of errors.

What is Gene Cloning?

Gene cloning is a process through which we can get the multiple copies of our required gene or part of DNA in vivo by forming rDNA (recombinant DNA). In the 1800s, Hans Driesch was the first who cloned animals by splitting the embryo of a sea urchin. To amplify DNA through gene cloning, DNA is first isolated from the organism which contains all the genes of the organism. The required gene is then cut into the right size by using restriction enzymes. Same restriction enzymes are used to cut the plasmid or vector DNA (a self-replicating, carrier molecule). The required gene or DNA is then mixed with plasmid. Plasmid and required DNA get attached to each other with the help of DNA ligase. This recombinant plasmid is then inserted into the bacteria through a process known as transformation. This bacteria then reproduce again and again and forms multiple copies of the required DNA along with the replication of plasmid.

What is PCR?

PCR stands for ‘Polymerase Chain Reaction.’ It is a cyclic invitro reaction that is also used to amplify DNA. Kary Mullis was the first who invented the PCR technique in 1983 and got Noble prize in 1993. PCR requires a thermostable DNA polymerase, e.g. Taq polymerase, because the temperature keeps on changing during this process. Moreover, RNA primers, designed according to the required segment of the DNA and free DNA nucleotides are also required. In the presence of all these things, cyclic polymerase reaction repeats again and again to form the multiple copies of required DNA in-vitro (in test tubes within laboratory).

Key Differences

  1. A technique of DNA amplification in which required DNA can be obtained in vivo by forming rDNA (recombinant DNA) and introducing it into bacteria is known as gene cloning whereas, a technique of DNA amplification in which required DNA can be obtained in vitro by repeated cycles of stand separation and polymerization is known as PCR or polymerase chain reaction.
  2. In the 1800s, Hans Driesch was the first who cloned animals on the other hand, in 1983, Kary Mullis invented PCR technique.
  3. Recombinant DNA is used in gene cloning. Conversely, there is no need of rDNA in PCR.
  4. For gene cloning, more quantity of DNA is required for amplification, i.e., at least a microgram on the flip side, only a nanogram of DNA is enough in PCR for amplification.
  5. Bacterial cells, DNA ligase, vector DNA, and restriction enzymes are required for gene cloning. On the other side, a thermostable DNA polymerase, DNA nucleotides, and RNA primers along with DNA segment are required in PCR technique.
  6. In gene cloning, amplified DNA need to be screened at the final step to get desired DNA while, if the DNA is pure before starting a reaction, then there is no need for screening in PCR.
  7. Gene cloning takes 2 to 4 days for an experiment; on the other hand, 4 hours are enough for an experiment in PCR.
  8. There is no need for automation in gene cloning, whereas, automation is a must in PCR.
  9. Gene cloning is a labor-intensive process on the flip side; PCR does not require intensive labor.
  10. Gene cloning has more possibilities of errors; on the other side, PCR has less possibility of errors.
  11. The DNA that is amplified through gene cloning has limited uses while a PCR amplified DNA can be used for multiple purposes due to less possibility of errors.

Conclusion

Above discussion summarizes that both gene cloning and PCR are important techniques that are used to amplify DNA. Gene cloning is an in vivo (takes place within an organism), time taking process with more possibilities of error whereas, PCR is an in-vitro (in the test tube within laboratories), rapid process with fewer possibilities of error.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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