Experiments using phage lambda provided early insights into important molecular mechanisms, including genetic recombination and the control of gene expression. Before recombinant DNA technology, the use of lambda, most particularly lambda transducing phages, illustrated the importance of cloning bacterial genes, already providing some insight into how to use cloned genes to advantage. Subsequently, lambda made significant contributions to recombinant DNA technology, including the early generation of genomic and cDNA libraries. More recently, lambda genes associated with recombination have enabled techniques referred to as ‘recombineering’ to be developed. These techniques permit the refined manipulation, including mutation, of foreign genes in Escherichia coli and their subsequent return to the donor organism.

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