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Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

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The polymerase chain reaction laboratory technique is used in a variety of applications to make copies of a specific DNA sequence. This lesson describes how a PCR reaction works, what it accomplishes and its basic requirements for success. Examples of interpreting results are given. PCR's strengths, weaknesses and applications to plant biotechnology are explained.

Introduction for PCR

Deana M. Namuth
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA
2004

(http://agronomy.unl.edu/namuth-covert)




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Overview:

The polymerase chain reaction laboratory technique is used in a variety of applications to make copies of a specific DNA sequence. This lesson describes how a PCR reaction works, what it accomplishes and its basic requirements for success. Examples of interpreting results are given. PCR’s strengths, weaknesses and applications to plant biotechnology are explained.

Objectives:

At the completion of this PCR lesson, learners will be able to:

-Describe what natural cellular process PCR mimics.
-List the 5 chemical components of a PCR reaction and describe their roles.
-List the functions of the 3 temperature cycles which are repeated during a PCR reaction.
-Describe the process of observing results and interpreting results of an experiment.
-Explain both the strengths and weaknesses of PCR.
-List possible uses of PCR in plant biotechnology.







Development of this lesson was supported in part by Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service, U.S. Dept of Agriculture under Agreement Number 98-EATP-1-0403 administered by Cornell University and the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC); and in part by USDA Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS)and the Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service, U.S. Dept of Agriculture under Agreement Number 00-52100-9710. A contribution of the University of Nebraska College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Lincoln NE 68583, Journal Series 04-12.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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