ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Restriction enzymes, sometimes called restriction endonucleases, are short nucleotide sequences isolated from prokaryotic organisms that protect the cell from foreign DNA. These enzymes recognize specific sequences, usually four to eight nucleotides in length. Different organisms produce enzymes with different sequence recognition sites, called restriction sites. Most organisms only recognize one specific site thus different enzymes will cut the same piece of DNA in different locations. Restriction enzymes cut the DNA strand by binding to the DNA at these specific sites and cleaving the double helix. The piece of DNA that is produced from this cut is called a restriction fragment.
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