Methods Enzymol. 2002;350:3-41
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is now recognized as a model system representing a simple eukaryote whose genome can be easily manipulated. Yeast has only a slightly greater genetic complexity than bacteria and shares many of the technical advantages that permitted rapid progress in the molecular genetics of prokaryotes and their viruses. Some of the properties that make yeast particularly suitable for biological studies include rapid growth, dispersed cells, the ease of replica plating and mutant isolation, a well-defined genetic system, and most important, a highly versatile DNA transformation system. Being nonpathogenic, yeast can be handled with little precautions. Large quantities of normal baker’s yeast are commercially available and can provide a cheap source for biochemical studies. The development of DNA transformation has made yeast particularly accessible to gene cloning and genetic engineering techniques. Structural genes corresponding to virtually any genetic trait can be identified by complementation from plasmid libraries. Plasmids can be introduced into yeast cells either as replicating molecules or by integration into the genome. In contrast to most other organisms, integrative recombination of transforming DNA in yeast proceeds exclusively via homologous recombination. Cloned yeast sequences, accompanied by foreign sequences on plasmids, can therefore be directed at will to specific locations in the genome.