Polymerase Chain Reaction

Polymerase Chain
By: Brittany Burmester and Wendy Weaver
Period: 7
How Does It Work?
Polymerase chain reaction is a technology that allows us to
take a little amount of DNA from blood or hair and increase
the amount of DNA by a million times so that it can be
analysed quickly and easily.
Why Is it Important?
Detection of Bacterial Infections
Rapid changes in transcription at a single cell level
DNA Sequencing
Screening for Genetic Disorders
Site specific mutation of DNA
Cloning or subcloning of cDNAs
Allow use to find DNA from fossil remains from extinct organisms
Very helpful in solving crime that have bodily fluid involved (ei. murder)
Possible to create vaccines faster
What Impact Does it Have?
Major impact on medicine!
It has helped in:
● Infection detection- It can provide a quick and accurate detection of
infections, such as AIDS.
● Genetic screening- Allows doctors to identify a person who carries genes
for a disease, such as cystic fibrosis.
● Cancer warning- Allows doctors to find genetic diseases early in the
development of the disease.
● Diagnosis of bowel cancer- It can be detected quicker and easier by
looking at the DNA cells in faeces.
● Tissue matching- Will lead to more successful transplants because doctors
can look at the donor's and patients DNA to determine if the patient's body
will accept the new organ.
Potential Problems?
It is very difficult to work with.
● very sensitive to environment
● could produce nonsense DNA chains if incorrectly copied
● contamination, even minuscule, will produce wrong copy
Ethical Considerations
While this process has been questioned, many ethical communities have
approved the usage of polymerase chain reaction, especially when it can be
used to potentially save a person's life.
Those who have worked with Polymerase Chain Reaction include:
- Kary B. Mullis (Nobel Prize in Chem. in 1993)
- Michael Smith (Mullis' partner)
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