Yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) cloning systems have advanced the analysis of complex genomes considerably. They permit the cloning of larger fragments than do bacterial artificial chromosome systems, and the cloned material is more easily modified. We recently developed a novel YAC cloning system called transformation-associated recombination (TAR) cloning. Using in vivo recombination in yeast, TAR cloning selectively isolates, as circular YACs, desired chromosome segments or entire genes from complex genomes. The ability to do that without constructing a representative genomic library of random clones greatly facilitates analysis of gene function and its role in disease. In this review, we summarize how recombinational cloning techniques have advanced the study of complex genome organization, gene expression, and comparative genomics. © 2003 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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