Escherichia coli has been an indispensable system for cloning recombinant DNA molecules to study gene function and regulation. This workhorse of the molecular laboratory could soon be put out to pasture, however. In this issue, Sykes and Johnston report that PCR products encoding promoters, coding regions, and terminators can be hybridized together and transferred directly into an organism without ligation (see pp. 329 and 355). Surprisingly, these chimeric fragments effect levels of gene expression similar to those observed with genes encoded on plasmids.