plas·​mid | \ ˈplaz-məd How to pronounce plasmid (audio) \

Definition of plasmid

: an extrachromosomal ring of DNA especially of bacteria that replicates autonomously

Examples of plasmid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The applications for producing large amounts of plasmid DNA are enormous for biopharma and other industries. John Cumbers, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Each plasmid contains a coronavirus gene, the genetic instructions for a human cell to build coronavirus proteins and trigger an immune response to the virus. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2021 From Missouri, the plasmid is flown to Pfizer’s campus in Andover, Massachusetts, where it is incubated in a bath of enzymes and nucleotides—the building blocks of RNA—for several hours. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2021 Once the plasmid is made, purified, and tested, the double-helix structure of the DNA has to be linearized—literally, made linear. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2021 At the end of the process, scientists kill and break open the cells, using a purification process that takes about a week and a half to strain out a ring of DNA, called a plasmid, that codes for the spike protein. Carolyn Y. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Nov. 2020 While Cadila’s plasmid DNA candidate doesn’t use an infectious agent, like other vaccines, and instead introduces the DNA sequence encoding the antigen, the other tests being done are for traditional delivery methods. Fortune, 27 Oct. 2020 Recombinetics has since insisted that the leftover plasmid DNA was likely harmless and stressed that this sort of genetic slip-up is not uncommon. Popular Science, 7 Aug. 2020 In hindsight, Sonstegard says his team’s only mistake was not properly screening for the plasmid to begin with. Popular Science, 7 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plasmid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of plasmid

1952, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for plasmid

plasma + -id entry 2

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Time Traveler for plasmid

Time Traveler

The first known use of plasmid was in 1952

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plasmid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for plasmid


plas·​mid | \ ˈplaz-məd How to pronounce plasmid (audio) \

Medical Definition of plasmid

: an extrachromosomal ring of DNA that replicates autonomously and is found especially in bacteria — compare episome

More from Merriam-Webster on plasmid Encyclopedia article about plasmid


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