MEGAWHOP cloning: a method of creating random mutagenesis libraries via megaprimer PCR of whole plasmids

Methods Enzymol. 2011;498:399-406. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385120-8.00017-6.


MEGAWHOP allows for the cloning of DNA fragments into a vector and is used for conventional restriction digestion/ligation-based procedures. In MEGAWHOP, the DNA fragment to be cloned is used as a set of complementary primers that replace a homologous region in a template vector through whole-plasmid PCR. After synthesis of a nicked circular plasmid, the mixture is treated with DpnI, a dam-methylated DNA-specific restriction enzyme, to digest the template plasmid. The DpnI-treated mixture is then introduced into competent Escherichia coli cells to yield plasmids carrying replaced insert fragments. Plasmids produced by the MEGAWHOP method are virtually free of contamination by species without any inserts or with multiple inserts, and also the parent. Because the fragment is usually long enough to not interfere with hybridization to the template, various types of fragments can be used with mutations at any site (either known or unknown, random, or specific). By using fragments having homologous sequences at the ends (e.g., adaptor sequence), MEGAWHOP can also be used to recombine nonhomologous sequences mediated by the adaptors, allowing rapid creation of novel constructs and chimeric genes.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods*
  • DNA / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Gene Library*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Mutagenesis*
  • Plasmids / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*


  • DNA