TA cloning is one of the simplest and most efficient methods for the cloning of PCR products. The procedure exploits the terminal transferase activity of certain thermophilic DNA polymerases, including Thermus aquaticus (Taq) polymerase. Taq polymerase has non-template dependent activity which preferentially adds a single adenosine to the 3'-ends of a double stranded DNA molecule, and thus most of the molecules PCR amplified by Taq polymerase possess single 3'-A overhangs. The use of a linearized "T-vector" which has single 3'-T overhangs on both ends allows direct, high-efficiency cloning of PCR products, facilitated by complementarity between the PCR product 3'-A overhangs and vector 3'-T overhangs. The TA cloning method can be easily modified so that the same T-vector can be used to clone any double-stranded DNA fragment, including PCR products amplified by any DNA polymerase, as well as all blunt- and sticky-ended DNA species. This technique is especially useful when compatible restriction sites are not available for the subcloning of DNA fragments from one vector to another. Directional cloning is made possible by appropriate hemi-phosphorylation of both the T-vectors and the inserts. With a single T-vector at hand, any DNA fragment can be cloned without compromising the cloning efficiency. The universal TA cloning method is thus both convenient and labor-saving.
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