In order to determine if a length of DNA includes an exon, the unknown DNA is cloned into the pSPL vector. The multiple cloning site is within a mini-gene that is transcribed and spliced when the vector is in animal cells. If the unknown DNA does not contain an exon, the mRNA transcript will be the same size as in the original vector. If the unknown DNA does contain an exon, the mRNA transcript will be longer. Any exons discovered by this method can be amplified using PCR for cloning and/or sequencing.
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