The polymerase chain reaction pcr
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The polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Prior knowledge. The structure of DNA. DNA replication process. What is PCR?. PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) was developed by Kary Mullis in the mid-1980s. For which he received the Nobel Prize. It has revolutionized molecular biology. What is PCR?.

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The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

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The polymerase chain reaction pcr

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)


Prior knowledge

Prior knowledge

  • The structure of DNA.

  • DNA replication process.


What is pcr

What is PCR?

PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) was developed by Kary Mullis in the mid-1980s.

For which he received the Nobel Prize.

It has revolutionized molecular biology.


What is pcr1

What is PCR?

PCR allows specific sections of DNA to be amplified in vitro (replicated out with a cell in a test tube (in vitro = in glass)).


The polymerase chain reaction pcr

Millions of copies of a specific piece of DNA can be created in a few hours in a thermocycler.


The polymerase chain reaction pcr

The first cycle

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Single copy of DNA

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Step 1: The DNA is heated at approx. 95 oC for a few seconds. This causes the DNA to denature and the strands to separate.


The polymerase chain reaction pcr

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PCR primer

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Step 2: The DNA is cooled to approx. 50-65 oC for a few seconds. This makes short primers to bond to the separated DNA strands.


The polymerase chain reaction pcr

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Step 3: The DNA is heated again to approx. 72oC for a few minutes. This allows a heat-tolerant DNA polymerase to replicate the DNA.

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The polymerase chain reaction pcr

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Step 4: Heat the DNA up to 95 oC again.

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The polymerase chain reaction pcr

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Step 5: Cool to between 50 – 65 oC again. The primers now bond to the original fragments and the copies.

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The polymerase chain reaction pcr

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Step 6: Heat to 72 oC again. The DNA polymerase copies the DNA again. The process is copied over and over again for roughly 20-30 cycles.


Requirements for pcr

Requirements for PCR

Sequence specific primers – these are designed by the scientist and can be manufactured by a machine.

The sequence for primers can be designed by looking at the published genome sequences.


The polymerase chain reaction pcr

  • Primers

  • Supply of nucleotides

  • pH buffer

  • Mg2+ - DNA polymerase co-factor (makes the polymerase work better)


Uses of pcr

Uses of PCR

  • DNA Profiling

    PCR helps to rapidly identify people. Specific areas of DNA known to vary between individuals is amplified. Giving different sized fragments in different people.


The polymerase chain reaction pcr

2. Disease detection

DNA sequences that are known to indicate certain genetic disorders or diseases are amplified using PCR for the purposes of diagnosis.


The polymerase chain reaction pcr

3. Archeological analysis

Ancient DNA, degraded over the years, can be amplified and used in archaeological, paleontological and evolutionary research.


The polymerase chain reaction pcr

5. Population studiesAnalysis of human or other species’ population genetics can be rapidly performed using PCR analysis.

6. Sequencing DNA sequences can be worked out.


Key concepts

Key concepts

  • Small sections of DNA can be replicated in vitro using the PCR.

  • PCR manipulates the natural process of DNA replication.

  • PCR is now an automated technique widely used in many areas of research and industry.

  • PCR requires template DNA, Taq polymerase, di-deoxynucleic acids with each of the four DNA bases, Mg2+, primers and a buffer.

  • PCR involves continuous and repeated cycles of heating and cooling.


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