Caister Academic Press

Magic in Solution: An Introduction and Brief History of PCR

Carl T. Wittwer and Jared S. Farrar
from: PCR Troubleshooting and Optimization: The Essential Guide (Edited by: Suzanne Kennedy and Nick Oswald). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2011)


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has become a fundamental tool in molecular research and clinical testing. The origins of PCR and its early evolution are described, including adaptation to RNA, thermostable polymerases, automation, improvements in specificity and rapid temperature cycling. Perhaps the most significant advance is real-time PCR, combining both amplification and detection into one instrument as a superior solution for nucleic acid quantification. Real-time PCR is enabled by monitoring the reaction with double stranded DNA dyes or specific probes, including hydrolysis, hybridization, and conformation-sensitive probes. Early real-time instruments are compared. PCR product and probe melting analysis continues to improve in resolution, allowing greater sequence detail for genotyping and variant scanning. Microfluidic platforms and digital PCR are destined to find more applications in the future read more ...
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