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The genotype of a cell can be altered by mutations. The rate of mutation can be enhanced by the addition of chemicals called mutagens or by radiation. Another useful class of mutants is conditional mutants. Gene transfer from one cell to another augments genetic information in ways that are not possible through mutation only. DNA molecules occurs within most cells. Thus, genetic information transferred from another organism may become a permanent part of the recipient cell.
The application of recombinant DNA technology at the commercial level requires a judicious choice of the proper host-vector system. Animal cell culture is required when posttranslational modifications are essential. The vector must be designed to optimize a desired process. One must be aware of the regulatory constraints on the release of cells with recombinant DNA. These are particularly relevant in plant design, where guidelines for physical containment must be met.