How do I know if my plasmid is a high- or low copy number type?
FAQ ID -350

Find out which origin of replication your plasmid contains, and look at the table below for classification into high-copy or low-copy types. This table can also be found online at the QIAGEN Plasmid Resource Center in the section 'Growth of bacterial cultures; Plasmid Copy Number' . A way to determine experimentally if the copy number of your plasmid is high or low is to perform a miniprep. A high-copy plasmid should yield between 3-5 ug DNA per 1 ml LB culture, while a low-copy plasmid will yield between 0.2-1 ug DNA per ml of LB culture.


Origins of replication and copy numbers of various plasmids and cosmids

DNA construct Origin of Replication Copy number Classification
pUC vectors pMB1* 500–700 high copy
pBluescript® vectors ColE1 300–500 high copy
pGEM® vectors pMB1* 300–400 high copy
pTZ vectors pMB1* >1000 high copy
pBR322 and derivatives pMB1* 15–20 low copy
pACYC and derivatives p15A 10–12 low copy
pSC101 and derivatives pSC101 ~5 very low copy
SuperCos pMB1* 10-20 low copy
pWE15 ColE1 10-20 low copy

* The pMB1 origin of replication is closely related to that of ColE1 and falls in the same incompatibility group. The high-copy plasmids listed here contain mutated versions of this origin.