AUG 27, 2016 11:50 AM PDT

A Simple Description of PCR

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Chances are good that if you've read about health sciences at some point, you've heard of PCR. But if you aren't one of the many people that routinely perform this procedure as part of biological research, you may not know exactly what it is. My simple description of it is - a gene photocopy machine.

This video from Thermo Fisher Scientific is here to educate us about the standard method, which was first developed around 1968 by Kjell Kleppe and 1968 Nobel laureate H. Gobind Khorana; then later improved by Kary Banks Mullis and Michael Smith who received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work.

The video does not actually show scientists performing PCR in the lab, so I will add that when PCR is done at the lab bench, essentially researchers are mixing very small amounts of various clear, usually colorless liquids in tubes, then applying those tubes to machines that cycle through a set of temperatures. At the end, one is left with a clear liquid that contains the amplified gene fragment the researcher is interested in.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JAN 13, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 13, 2020
An Albatross Mother's Work is Never Done
Albatross chicks are naturally flightless, and this increases their dependence on their parental units to bring back food for them to eat. In this chick&rs...
JAN 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 14, 2020
Male Hippos Must Challenge the Overlord for Mating Rights
Hippos are in constant need of water, not only because they need to drink, but because they need to stay cool. As this particular lagoon begins to dry up,...
JAN 23, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 23, 2020
Yes, Stress Can Turn Your Hair Gray
Stress and gray hair have always been closely associated, and now, scientists from Harvard have discovered the physiological mechanism that validates this...
FEB 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 10, 2020
Mudskippers Aren't Like Most Fish...
Most fish spend almost all of their lives in a body of water, be it the ocean or some smaller lake or stream. Mudskippers, on the other hand, are a unique...
FEB 11, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 11, 2020
Why China Was Banned from the International Space Station
The International Space Station is just that – a place where international space agencies can work together in an effort to accomplish similar goals:...
FEB 20, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 20, 2020
Methane-fueled Commerical Production of Biodegradable Plastics in Sight
Plastics, the petroleum-based, very poorly degradable polymers, make up almost everything in our society from water bottles, food packing, disposable utens...
Loading Comments...