DNA Amplification by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

What does the diagnosis of hereditary diseases, the detection and diagnosis of infectious diseases, personalized DNA sequencing, DNA cloning, genetic functional analysis, genetic fingerprinting and DNA-based phylogeny have in common?

The all employ a widely used molecular technique called polymerase chain reaction or PCR.

The idea was conceived by Kary Mullis in the early 1980s and was first described, albeit briefly, in an article investigating the mutation that causes sickle cell anemia [1]. The details of the method and its uses were discussed in greater detail over the next two years [2-3]. PCR revolutionized molecular genetics by allowing rapid duplication and analysis of DNA.

2007: The Year of the Personalized Genomics

George Weinstock, co-director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine, wrote a short, interesting article posted to MIT’s Tech Review, contemplating whether this year may be remembered as the year of the personalized genome.

In April, two companies, 454 Life Sciences and Illumina, announced plans to sequence individual human genomes. While genotyping tests have been used for decades to sequence single genes, DNA sequencing has never been done on the entire genome of a single person.