Polymerase Chain Reaction - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 8 pages of information about Polymerase Chain Reaction.
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Designing Primers

To replicate DNA, DNA polymerases require not only a template, but also a primer. A primer is a sequence of single-stranded DNA that "anneals," or binds, to the template by specific base-pairing. An automated apparatus called an oligonucleotide synthesizer, sometimes nickname a "gene machine," can produce primers of any chosen sequence.

Primers for PCR are typically short sequences, around twenty nucleotides long. It is the primers' sequences that are responsible for PCR's enormous specificity. Researchers design primers so they are likely to bind to sequences on either side of the target DNA. They do so by making the primers complementary to the appropriate sequences and by making them long enough that they are unlikely to bind elsewhere.

The longer the primer, the more likely it is that it will be complementary only to the target sequence. Because any single position in a DNA sequence can...

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This section contains 2,322 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Polymerase Chain Reaction Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Genetics
Polymerase Chain Reaction from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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