Difference between Plasmid and Transposon


A plasmid is an extrachromosomal DNA. It is double-stranded, small, and circular. Also, it can replicate autonomously. Plasmids are mostly seen in bacteria and also in a few eukaryotes. They help in the survival of the organism and carry the gene for antibiotic resistance.

The plasmid is used in recombinant DNA technology to transfer the gene of interest. It acts as a vector. The plasmid vector has the ori (origin of replication) and also cloning sites.

Ti Plasmid

Also Read: Plasmid Vector


A transposon is a mobile genetic element. It can move to new locations within a genome. Hence, it is also known as the jumping gene. They make up a huge portion of the genome and are responsible for genome functioning. It also plays a significant role in evolution.

Transposons can create mutations or even reverse them.

Difference between Plasmid and Transposon



It is a small circular and double-stranded form of extrachromosomal DNA. It is a DNA segment that can translocate within the genome.
It can replicate independently. It is not a self-replicative DNA segment.
It has an origin of replication. It lacks the origin of replication.
It is used as a vector in recombinant DNA technology. It is used as a vector for insertional mutagenesis.
Plasmids aid in gene transfer. Transposons are involved in chromosomal transfer and can act as mutagens.

Also see: Bacterial Genetics

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of transposons?

The two types of transposons are – Class 1 TE (Transposable Element) and Class 2 TE. The mechanism of class 1 TE or retrotransposon is to copy and paste the DNA. The class 2 TE follows the cut and paste mechanism.

What is horizontal gene transfer?

It is a lateral transfer of genes between the organism. The usual transmission of genes from parent to offspring is termed vertical transfer. The lateral or horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is significant for evolution. The HGT mostly involves the plasmids.

What are mobile genetic elements?

They are genetic materials that can wander within a genome. Both transposons and plasmids are mobile genetic elements. They involve in the transfer of genetic material.

Explore: Homologous Recombination

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