Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 23830144
Trends Biotechnol. 2013 Sep;31(9):539-47
Nonviral gene therapy and DNA vaccines have become the first promising approaches to treat, cure, or ultimately prevent disease by providing genetic information encoded on a plasmid. Since 1989, more than 1800 clinical trials have been approved worldwide, and approximately 20% of them are using plasmid DNA (pDNA) as a vector system. Although much safer than viral approaches, DNA vectors generally do encode antibiotic resistance genes in the plasmid backbone. These antibiotic resistance markers constitute a possible safety risk, and they are associated with structural plasmid instabilities and decreased gene delivery efficiency. These drawbacks have initiated the development of various antibiotic marker-free selection approaches. We provide an overview on the potential implications of marker-free plasmids and perspectives for their successful biotechnological use in the future.