Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
Washington, M. Todd Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
Last reviewed:April 2019
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- PCR methodology
- Applications of PCR
- Scientific research
- Clinical diagnosis
- Paternity testing
- Forensic science
- Reverse-transcription PCR
- Real-time PCR
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A procedure for copying and thereby amplifying the sequence of a defined region of a DNA molecule. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique that enables researchers to copy and amplify the complementary strands of a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule. This procedure was developed by Kary Banks Mullis in 1983 and rapidly became one of the most important tools used by molecular biologists. PCR generates millions of new DNA molecules, all with sequences identical to that of a region of the original DNA molecule (Fig. 1). In addition to its use in scientific research, PCR has many wide-ranging applications, including clinical diagnosis, paternity testing, and forensic science. See also: Biotechnology; Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); Gene amplification; Genetics; Molecular biology
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