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Applications of PCR

The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has found

widespread application in many areas of genetic
(1)Medical applications.
(2)Infectious disease applications.
(3)Forensic applications.
(4)Research applications.
Medical applications
The first application of PCR was for genetic testing,
where a sample of DNA is analyzed for the
presence of genetic disease mutations, the Sickle
gene is the best example.
Prospective parents can be tested for being genetic
carriers, or their children might be tested for
actually being affected by a disease.
DNA samples for Prenatal testing can be obtained
by amniocentesis (removal of amniotic fluids from
uterus, test done during pregnancy).
PCR analysis is also essential to preimplantation
genetic diagnosis, where individual cells of a
developing embryo are tested for mutations.
PCR can be used to determine the sex of embryos ,
thus the sex of in vitro fertilized human embryo
could be determined using Y-chromosome specific
primers before their implantation in the uterus.
Many forms of cancer involve alterations to
oncogenes. By using PCR-based tests to study
these mutations, therapy procedures can
sometimes be individually customized to a patient.
Infectious Diseases Applications
Characterization and detection of infectious
disease organisms have been revolutionized by
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV),
responsible for AIDS, is a difficult target to find
and eradicate , the earliest tests for infection relied
on the presence of antibodies to the virus
circulating in the bloodstream.
However, antibodies don't appear until many
weeks after infection.
PCR have been developed that can detect as little
as one viral genome among the DNA of over
50,000 host cells:
1. Infections can be detected earlier,
2. donated blood can be screened directly for the
3. newborns can be immediately tested for infection,
4. the effects of antiviral treatments can be
Some disease organisms, such as Tuberculosis, are
difficult to sample from patients and slow to be
grown in the laboratory.
PCR-based tests have allowed detection of small
numbers of disease organisms (both live or dead),
in convenient samples.
Detailed genetic analysis can also be used to detect
antibiotic resistance, allowing immediate and
effective therapy.
Forensic Applications

The development of PCR-based DNA

fingerprinting protocols has seen widespread
application in forensics.
In its most discriminating form, DNA
fingerprinting can uniquely discriminate any
person from the entire population of the world.
DNA samples can be isolated from a crime scene,
and compared to that from suspects, or from a
DNA database of earlier evidence or convicts.
Less discriminating forms of DNA fingerprinting
can help in Parental testing, where an individual is
matched with their close relatives.
DNA from unidentified human remains can be
tested, and compared with that from possible
parents, siblings, or children.
Research Applications

PCR has been applied to many areas of research in

molecular genetics:-
1.DNA hybridization.
2.DNA sequencing.
3.DNA cloning.
4.Gene expression.
5.Ancient DNA analysis.