Difference between Recombinant DNA and Recombinant Protein

Recombinant DNA and Protein are important molecules in recombinant DNA technology. Recombinant DNA technology is the process of manipulating genetic material in vitro, to obtain new desirable characteristics in the product or offspring. The steps include identification and isolation of the desired genetic material from different sources, insertion of the genetic material via vectors, production of recombinant DNA, and expression of the recombinant DNA as recombinant proteins.

Let us study both the molecules in detail.

Recombinant DNA

Recombinant DNA is a molecule created by combining pieces of DNA from at least two different sources. Genetic engineering techniques, such as molecular cloning are used to join the fragments.

The resulting piece of DNA gives desirable characteristics to the offspring. This recombination is possible because the basic chemical structure of all living organisms is the same. With the help of promoter sequences and the origin of replication, any DNA fragment, from plant to animal, from human to fungus has the possibility of incorporation.

Recombinant DNA should not be confused with genetic recombination, that is a natural process occurring inside all living beings for remixing of DNA.

Recombinant Protein

Proteins that are expressed in vivo, by the translation of recombinant DNA are the recombinant proteins. Recombinant proteins are used to produce proteins in large quantities for commercial requirements, such as protein scaffolds for tissue engineering, antibodies and enzymes for disease treatment, and protein-based polymers for drug delivery.

However, the synthesis of recombinant proteins requires post-translational modification, such as alkylation, glycosylation, etc. The machinery for this modification is not available in prokaryotes, and thus requires eukaryotic systems such as yeast, insects and other mammalian cells.

Study the differences between Recombinant DNA and Recombinant protein in the table below.

Recombinant DNA

Recombinant Protein


Recombinant DNA is a molecule that is synthesised by joining together DNA fragments from at least two different sources.

The proteins expressed as a result of the recombinant DNA are the recombinant proteins.


It is made up of nucleotides.

It is made up of amino acids.


It is synthesised outside the cell, i.e, in vitro.

It is synthesised inside the cell, i.e, in vivo.

Post-translational modifications

It does not require post-translational modifications.

It does require post-translational modifications.


It is used widely in recombinant DNA technology to produce recombinant proteins.

Recombinant proteins are used commercially to produce antibiotics, enzymes and protein-based polymer drugs.

Explore BYJU’S Biology to learn more about the tools of recombinant DNA technology.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Does recombinant DNA make protein?

Yes, when the recombinant DNA is put into the host cell, it translates to produce recombinant protein.

What is an example of a recombinant protein?

Insulin, platelet-derived growth factor, tissue plasminogen activator are some examples of recombinant proteins.


How does recombinant DNA differ from normal DNA?

Recombinant DNA is an artificial product synthesised outside the cell, whereas normal DNA are natural molecules synthesised inside the cell.


How do you identify recombinant DNA?

The most accurate method to identify recombinant DNA colonies is Sanger sequencing.


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