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YAC Vectors vs. BAC Vectors — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 13, 2024
YAC Vectors are yeast artificial chromosomes used to clone large DNA fragments, while BAC Vectors are bacterial artificial chromosomes used for the same purpose in bacteria.
YAC Vectors vs. BAC Vectors — What's the Difference?

Difference Between YAC Vectors and BAC Vectors


Key Differences

YAC Vectors and BAC Vectors are both vital tools in genetic research, assisting in the cloning and analysis of large DNA segments. The primary distinction between the two lies in their origins and applications.
YAC Vectors, derived from yeast cells, have the unique ability to accommodate large DNA fragments, sometimes up to several megabases in length. On the other hand, BAC Vectors, originating from bacteria, can typically hold DNA fragments of 100-300 kilobases.
The reliability of YAC Vectors has been under scrutiny due to potential for chimerism and instability. Conversely, BAC Vectors, being bacterial in nature, offer more stability, making them a favored choice for many genetic mapping projects.
Both YAC Vectors and BAC Vectors have been pivotal in the Human Genome Project. While YACs initially played a more significant role due to their larger capacity, BACs' stability and ease of manipulation made them a preferable choice as the project evolved.
Despite the differences between YAC Vectors and BAC Vectors, both remain indispensable in genomic research, each offering unique advantages based on the specific requirements of the project at hand.

Comparison Chart


Yeast cells

DNA Capacity

Large fragments (up to several megabases)
Typically 100-300 kilobases


Can be unstable and prone to chimerism
More stable and reliable

Use in Human Genome Project

Initially preferred due to larger capacity
Favored later due to stability

Complexity of Manipulation

More complex
Easier to manipulate

Compare with Definitions

YAC Vectors

YAC Vectors can house vast DNA sequences.
Some genetic sequences, too long for other vectors, fit perfectly into YAC Vectors.

BAC Vectors

BAC Vectors are derived from a specific plasmid in bacteria.
BAC Vectors are often used in genomics due to their stable nature.

YAC Vectors

YAC Vectors can be prone to instability.
Researchers often double-check results from YAC Vectors due to potential inconsistencies.

BAC Vectors

BAC Vectors have been crucial in genome mapping.
Many genome sequencing endeavors have been successful thanks to the reliability of BAC Vectors.

YAC Vectors

YAC Vectors played a role in early genome sequencing projects.
During the initial stages of the Human Genome Project, YAC Vectors were invaluable.

BAC Vectors

BAC Vectors allow for easier manipulation in the lab.
Geneticists often opt for BAC Vectors due to their user-friendly nature in experimental setups.

YAC Vectors

YAC Vectors have telomeres, centromeres, and replication origins.
The presence of these essential elements allows YAC Vectors to replicate within yeast cells.

BAC Vectors

BAC Vectors offer stability in replication.
Researchers prefer BAC Vectors when they need consistent and reliable cloning.

YAC Vectors

YAC Vectors are cloning vehicles derived from yeast chromosomes.
To clone an extensive DNA fragment, researchers might opt for YAC Vectors.

BAC Vectors

BAC Vectors can accommodate large DNA fragments.
For most genomic projects, BAC Vectors provide sufficient capacity to house large DNA sequences.

Common Curiosities

How do BAC Vectors differ from YAC Vectors?

BAC Vectors are bacterial artificial chromosomes with a different capacity and stability compared to YAC Vectors.

What are YAC Vectors?

They are yeast artificial chromosomes used for cloning large DNA fragments.

Are BAC Vectors more stable than YAC Vectors?

Yes, BAC Vectors generally offer more stability and less susceptibility to chimerism than YAC Vectors.

Are BAC Vectors derived from yeast?

No, BAC Vectors are derived from bacteria, whereas YAC Vectors come from yeast.

Which vector can hold larger DNA sequences?

YAC Vectors can typically accommodate larger DNA sequences compared to BAC Vectors.

Is it easy to manipulate BAC Vectors in a lab setting?

Yes, BAC Vectors are generally easier to handle and manipulate than YAC Vectors.

Which vector is more suitable for large genome projects?

While both have their merits, BAC Vectors are often favored due to their stability and ease of manipulation.

Why were YAC Vectors used in the Human Genome Project?

Their ability to hold large DNA fragments made them initially valuable, though BAC Vectors became more dominant later due to stability.

What are the limitations of YAC Vectors?

They can be unstable and are prone to chimerism, which can result in inaccurate cloning.

Can YAC Vectors be used in bacteria?

No, YAC Vectors are specific to yeast cells.

How are YAC Vectors constructed?

They are constructed using essential elements like telomeres, centromeres, and replication origins from yeast.

What is the primary application of BAC Vectors and YAC Vectors?

Both are primarily used in genetic research for cloning and analyzing large DNA fragments.

What is the origin of BAC Vectors?

BAC Vectors are derived from the F-plasmid found in bacteria.

Why is stability a concern with YAC Vectors?

Due to their structure and method of replication, YAC Vectors can sometimes rearrange or lose inserted DNA.

Can BAC Vectors be used in yeast?

Typically, no. BAC Vectors are designed for use in bacterial cells.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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