Difference between Complementation and Recombination

What is Complementation?

Complementation happens when two organisms with varied homozygous recessive mutations produce a wild-type offspring when crossed. This can be intergenic complementation (mutations in different genes) or intragenic complementation (mutations at different locations of a same gene). The intragenic is usually ineffective as they generally produce an intermediate offspring between wild-type and mutant phenotypes.

What is Recombination?

Recombination results in the exchange of genetic material or DNA between organisms that can lead to the production of offspring with different traits. Most recombination occurs naturally in the chromosomes. It occurs during both meiosis and mitosis between the homologous sequences. Usually, the recombination between homologous chromosomes happens as a DNA repair mechanism.

Recombinant DNA Technology

Sometimes this process can be artificially done in laboratories to produce recombinant DNA. Here, genetic material or DNA from multiple sources are brought together to produce a new sequence that is not found in the original genome. This method can be used to develop vaccines.

Also see: Homologous Recombination.

Difference between Complementation and Recombination



Two mutants are involved to produce a wild-type phenotype.

Two normal parents recombine to produce an offspring with altered genomic sequence.

Generally, a wild-type or normal phenotype is produced as an offspring.

Mostly, they result in mutant phenotype.

It is used to determine mutations in a gene.

Generally, it is used as a DNA repair mechanism. Recombination plays a vital role in genetic engineering.

Also Read: Linkage and Recombination

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Complementation and Recombination

What is a cis-trans test?

Cis-trans test or complementation test is used to determine about mutations in a gene. This test detects if the two mutations (representing the same phenotype) are in alleles or two varied genes. Complementation usually occurs between two varied mutant genes. The intragenic complementation is usually ineffective or weak.

What is an example of recombination?

Recombination involves the exchange of DNA molecules or genetic material. This is evident during the meiosis and mitosis process. During meiosis, the pairing and transfer of genetic information between homologous chromosomes occur. This results in a new DNA molecule.

Extended Reading: Meiosis Ⅰ: Reductional Cell Division.

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