Gene splicing and mutagenesis by PCR-driven overlap extension

Nat Protoc. 2007;2(4):924-32. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2007.132.


Extension of overlapping gene segments by PCR is a simple, versatile technique for site-directed mutagenesis and gene splicing. Initial PCRs generate overlapping gene segments that are then used as template DNA for another PCR to create a full-length product. Internal primers generate overlapping, complementary 3' ends on the intermediate segments and introduce nucleotide substitutions, insertions or deletions for site-directed mutagenesis, or for gene splicing, encode the nucleotides found at the junction of adjoining gene segments. Overlapping strands of these intermediate products hybridize at this 3' region in a subsequent PCR and are extended to generate the full-length product amplified by flanking primers that can include restriction enzyme sites for inserting the product into an expression vector for cloning purposes. The highly efficient generation of mutant or chimeric genes by this method can easily be accomplished with standard laboratory reagents in approximately 1 week.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artificial Gene Fusion / methods*
  • DNA Primers
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex
  • Mice
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed / methods*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Transformation, Bacterial


  • DNA Primers