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From plasma +‎ -id, coined 1952 by American molecular biologist Joshua Lederberg.



plasmid (plural plasmids)

  1. (cytology) A loop of double-stranded DNA that is separate from and replicates independently of the chromosomes, most commonly found in bacteria, but also in archaeans and eukaryotic cells, and used in genetic engineering as a vector for gene transfer.
    • 1952 October 1, J. Lederberg, “Cell genetics and hereditary symbiosis”, in Physiological Reviews, volume 32, number 4, page 403:
      These discussions have left a plethora of terms adrift: pangenes, bioblasts, plasmagenes, plastogenes, chondriogenes, cytogenes and proviruses, which have lost their original utility owing to the accretion of vague or contradictory connotations. At the risk of adding to this list, I propose plasmid as a generic term for any extrachromosomal hereditary determinant.
    • 1995, Christopher Howe, Gene Cloning and Manipulation[1], page 144:
      This is how the F (for "fertility") plasmid, which forms the basis of a lot of classical E. coli genetics, is transferred from one cell to another.
    • 1999, Matt Ridley, Genome, Harper Perennial, published 2004, page 247:
      Bacteria are happy to absorb little rings of DNA called plasmids and adopt them as their own.
    • 2004, Karl Friehs, “Plasmid Copy Number and Plasmid Stability”, in M. Beyer, T. Scheper, editors, New Trends and Developments in Biochemical Engineering[2], volume 86, page 47:
      Plasmids have an essential impact on productivity. Related factors are plasmid copy number, structural plasmid stability and segregational plasmid stability.

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