Recombinant DNA, which is often shortened to rDNA, is an artificially made DNA strand that is formed by the combination of two or more gene sequences. This new combination may or may not occur naturally, but is engineered specifically for a purpose to be used in one of the many applications of recombinant DNA

In the context of biotechnology, recombinant DNA is the artificial or uncommon union of DNA fragments from two different sources of genetic material. Some scientists also use the term chimeric DNA for this “unnatural” combination of genes.

The technology is important because it enables the creation of multiple copies of genes and the insertion of foreign genes into other organisms to give them new traits, such as antibiotic resistance or a new colour.


For example, insulin is regularly produced by means of recombinant DNA within bacteria. A human insulin gene is introduced into a plasmid, which is then introduced to a bacterial cell. The bacteria will then use its cellular machinery to produce the protein insulin, which can be collected and distributed to patients.