Biology Fun-damentals

Jun 10, 2017

PCR - Photocopying Genes

Posted in:  ·  Introductory

PCR is a common technique used to amplify specific regions of DNA. Put more simply, its a process that allows us to create copies of a piece of DNA. There are two main properties of PCR that we take advantage of - amplification (getting many copies) and isolation (of a single region).

If you understand the basic idea of photocopying, then you can understand PCR.

I should note that the role of PCR has changed over time and I will mostly be focusing on the current use. Additionally, there are several variants based off the standard PCR, including rt/qPCR, but those will be covered in a different post.

Why do a PCR?
Typically PCR is just a step to let us do something else with a gene or region of DNA. It is the first step in gene cloning or for things like gene editing. It can also be used ‘genotype’ an individual for a gene, i.e. figure out which specific copy of a gene someone has.

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Aug 10, 2016

Gene Cloning: vectors, plasmids, ligations, and transformation - oh my!

What is the goal or what is gene cloning?
The goal is to get a single copy of the gene from an animal and into an archive. The rest is just the individual steps necessary to do this.

Step Description Biology Jargon
1     Get a copy of the gene from the animal PCR
2     Put the gene in an archival format Ligation into a plasmid
3     Make backup copies or archive it Bacterial transformation
4     Confirm that the copies match the original    Sequence the insert
5     Retrieve a copy to use Miniprep

What is a vector?
A vector is a small, self contained piece of DNA that can be added to an organism, typically bacteria.

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