Functional expression cloning focuses on obtaining a specific cDNA of known function. There are many variations on this approach, but they all rely on the ability to search for and isolate cDNAs based on some functional activity that can be measured (e.g., the electrophysiological measurement of ion conductances following expression of cDNAs in frog oocytes). By incrementally subdividing the cDNAs into pools and following the activity, it is possible to obtain a single cDNA clone that encodes the functionality. The advantage of functional expression cloning is that it does not rely on knowledge of the primary amino acid sequence. This is a definite advantage when attempting to clone proteins of low abundance.
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