Cloning nomenclature

Frank O. Fackelmayer Frank.Fackelmayer at
Thu Jun 17 02:19:13 EST 1999

Hi Bill,
There is no convention for naming clones. Everyone chooses a name (s)he likes. The
only thing that is usually accepted is a "p" as the first letter of a plasmid
There are different types of nomenclature:
1. "p" followed by some cryptic letters that are either abbreviations of the
investigators name or institute (pUC) and a number. Clones are numbered
consecutively (pUC18, pUC19....). -> Your clone could be called pBN1, the next one
2. "p" followed by the gene name (e.g. pEGFP).
3. "p" followed by letters indicating some important properties of the vector,
like the promoter (e.g. pCMV)
4. "p" named as in 1-3, and following number 1,2,3 or A,B,C to indicate the
reading frame in expression vectors for fusion proteins (e.g. pRSET-A)
5. any combination of the above
6. others

When you transform/transfect bacterial or eukaryotic cells, they usually keep
their original name plus the name of the construct. There is also no convention on
how to do that. It could be "pUC18 in DH5a" or "HeLa-pCMV" or "BL21pLysS". It´s up
to you to choose a descriptive, unambigous name.

Hope this helps,

Bill_A_Nussbaumer at wrote:

> Bill A Nussbaumer at BDX
> 06/16/99 11:23 AM
> Hi all,
> I am just finishing up sucessfully cloning a gene for the very first time
> (Yea!).  As I'm writing up my procedures and such, I'm wondering exactly how to
> name my new cells.  We named the plamid that was cloned into DH5alpha competent
> cells.  Is there any type of nomenclature typically used in naming cloned
> products and cells or is it pretty much a free for all?
> Thanks for any info
> Bill Nussbaumer

More information about the Methods mailing list