blue-white colour selection
Method for identifying bacterial clones containing plasmids with inserts. Many modern vectors have their polycloning site within a part of the LacZ gene encoding beta-galactosidase, which provides a -complementation in an appropriate mutant E. coli strain. This means that a re-ligated (empty) vector will produce blue colonies when grown on plates containing IPTG and Xgal, but colonies with a substantial insert in their plasmid\'s polycloning site are unable to produce functional beta-galactosidase, and so produce white colonies.

Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.

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