Blunt-end palindromic DNA linkers with a central restriction site have been designed for the multiple reading frame insertion (abbreviated MURFI) of a sense or nonsense codon into DNA. We have utilized an amber MURFI linker, 5'CTAG TCTAGA CTAG3' to disrupt the lacZ gene, yielding truncated beta-galactosidase proteins. Conditional disruption of the tetr gene in E. coli has also been demonstrated. Nonsense codon MURFI linkers permit conditional fusion of multiple gene products while sense codon linkers can add structural elements (e.g. beta-turn, cationic segment, hydrophobic segment) or a desired amino acid to a protein (e.g. methionine, cysteine). Shotgun or alternatively site-directed insertion of the symmetric linkers is possible. The over-all length of the linker may be adjusted to retain the original reading frame, matching nucleotide additions or subtractions at recipient DNA sites. If a linker restriction site occurs elsewhere in the target DNA, single linker copies may still be inserted using non-phosphorylated linkers.