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Molecular Pathology

Polymerase Chain Reaction



Author: Rodney E. Shackelford, DO, Ph.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 22 September 2012, last major update January 2010

Copyright: (c) 2008-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.




● Common technique used to amplify very small amounts of a specific DNA sequence, even a single copy, into millions or up to 100 billion copies in a short time

● The technique works best on short DNA sequences of 100 to 1,000 base pairs and employs dNTPs, Taq DNA polymerase, oligonucleotides, specific buffer conditions and thermal cycling

● PCR has many variations and is a fundamental tool in medical research and molecular pathology

● Developed in 1983 by Kary Mullis (Wikipedia), who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 for this work

● Presently over 350,000 papers have been published which use or refer to this technique.




● Frequently called PCR


Additional references




End of Molecular Pathology > Polymerase Chain Reaction > Definition



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