Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Vector

1. a mathematical quantity possessing both magnitude and direction. In growth and development studies, any size variable, such as body size.

2. any organism, such as a mosquito, that transmits a pathogen from one host to another.

3. in recombinant DNA technology, a self-replicating DNA molecule such as a plasmid or virus that is used to transfer foreign DNA segments between host cells. A DNA segment of interest can be spliced into e.g. a plasmid, and then the plasmid can be inserted into the host cell, which then divides, replicating or cloning the foreign DNA along with the host cell’s normal DNA.

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