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Sticky end

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Definition

noun, plural: sticky ends

(molecular biology) A fragment of DNA (often produced by a staggered cut on the DNA using restriction enzymes) in which the terminal portion has a stretch of unpaired nucleotides, and the strands are not of the same length.


Supplement

The ends of the DNA are sticky because it can easily match up with a complementary overhang.

For example, these two sticky ends can be joined together since they can form complementary base pairs in the overhang region:

5'-ATCTGACT ______+ GATGCGTATGCT-3'
3'-TAGACTGACTACG________CATACGA-5'


Synonym: DNA end, cohesive end.
Compare: blunt end.
See also: restriction enzyme, overhang (molecular biology).