The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a laboratory technique that amplifies a specific DNA fragment. PCR is used to amplify DNA molecules for subsequent laboratory manipulation (for example cloning or DNA sequence analysis) and also for sensitive detection tests (for example in clinical diagnostics). The advantages of PCR over other methods include rapidity, specificity and sensitivity.
The PCR technique is extremely useful in basic research, for commercial uses, genetic testing, forensics, industrial quality control, environmental science, food microbiology and clinical diagnostics. PCR is now a very commonplace procedure in all molecular biology laboratories where it is used to amplify DNA fragments and detect DNA or RNA sequences. Many variations and improvements of the original PCR method have been developed.
Despite being a relatively simple procedure, PCR can be infuriatingly problematic. Depending on the nature of the DNA fragment being amplified and the biological properties of the primers, the PCR procedure can fail totally, produce insufficient DNA product, or (commonly) amplify unwanted, non-specific fragments. In order to optimize a PCR procedure it is necessary to consider a huge range of variations and permutations of the original procedure.
This blog provides a current and regularly updated resource on different types of PCR technology, methods, applications and PCR optimization. In addition, we provide regular features on PCR trouble shooting. Where a detailed treatment of the topic is beyond the scope of the blog we provide a bibliography for scientists and researchers who require more comprehensive information.
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