PCR is a way of producing large quantities of a specific target sequence of DNA.
It is useful when only a small amount of DNA is available for testing (e.g. crime scene samples of blood, semen, tissue, hair, etc.).
PCR occurs in a thermal cycler and involves a repeat procedure of 3 steps:
1. Denaturation: DNA sample is heated to separate it into two strands
2. Annealing: DNA primers attach to opposite ends of the target sequence
3. Elongation: A heat-tolerant DNA polymerase (Taq) copies the strands
- One cycle of PCR yields two identical copies of the DNA sequence
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