Jesselyn Boss

Jesselyn Boss

Modified & Updated: 27 Nov 2023


In the dynamic world of biology, there is a revolutionary technique that has transformed the field of molecular biology and paved the way for countless scientific discoveries and advancements – Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This powerful method, developed by Kary Mullis in the 1980s, has become an indispensable tool for researchers, enabling them to amplify specific DNA segments with unprecedented precision and efficiency. PCR has not only revolutionized diagnostics, forensic analysis, and genetic research but has also played a pivotal role in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying various diseases. In this article, we will explore 17 enigmatic facts about PCR that will shed light on its significance, applications, and potential future advancements. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a fascinating journey into the world of PCR!

Table of Contents

PCR revolutionized the field of molecular biology.

PCR, or Polymerase Chain Reaction, is a technique that allows scientists to amplify specific segments of DNA, opening up a whole new world of possibilities in the study of genetics and molecular biology.

Kary Mullis is credited with the invention of PCR.

In 1983, Kary Mullis developed the PCR technique, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in His groundbreaking discovery has forever changed the field of DNA analysis and diagnostics.

PCR involves a repetitive process of heating and cooling.

The PCR process consists of three main steps: denaturation, annealing, and extension. These cycles of heating and cooling allow the DNA to be amplified exponentially, resulting in millions of copies of the target DNA sequence.

PCR is used in forensic investigations.

PCR has been instrumental in forensic science, enabling the analysis of trace amounts of DNA evidence found at crime scenes. It has helped solve countless criminal cases by identifying suspects and linking them to the scene of the crime.

PCR can be used for paternity testing.

PCR plays a critical role in determining biological relationships. It can be used to establish paternity by comparing the genetic profiles of a child and potential father.

PCR is used in medical diagnostics.

PCR has revolutionized medical diagnostics by enabling the detection of various infectious diseases, genetic disorders, and cancer markers. It offers a fast and accurate method for identifying specific DNA sequences in patient samples.

PCR has applications in agriculture.

PCR is used in agriculture to identify and characterize genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and to perform plant and animal breeding studies. It has enhanced crop development and improved food production.

Quantitative PCR allows for the measurement of gene expression.

Quantitative PCR, also known as qPCR, is a variation of PCR that enables the quantification of gene expression. It provides valuable insights into gene regulation and can help identify genes associated with various diseases.

Reverse Transcription PCR (RT-PCR) is used to study gene expression.

RT-PCR is a technique that allows scientists to convert RNA into complementary DNA (cDNA) and amplify the target gene of interest. It is widely used in gene expression studies and provides valuable information on how genes are regulated.

PCR has facilitated the discovery of new species.

PCR has been used in DNA barcoding, a method that allows for the rapid identification and classification of species. By sequencing specific genetic markers, scientists can uncover new species and study biodiversity.

Nested PCR improves the specificity of DNA amplification.

Nested PCR is a modified version of PCR that involves two rounds of amplification. It increases the specificity of DNA amplification, making it useful in detecting low abundance targets or in cases where there is potential contamination.

Multiplex PCR allows for the simultaneous amplification of multiple DNA targets.

Multiplex PCR is a technique that enables the amplification of multiple DNA sequences in a single reaction. It has accelerated genetic testing by allowing the simultaneous analysis of multiple genes or genetic markers.

PCR can amplify DNA from ancient remains.

PCR has played a crucial role in the field of ancient DNA by allowing scientists to amplify DNA from ancient remains, such as fossils and archaeological artifacts. This has provided valuable insights into the genetic history of extinct species and ancient human populations.

Real-time PCR allows for the monitoring of DNA amplification in real-time.

Real-time PCR, also known as quantitative PCR, is a technique that measures DNA amplification as it occurs. It provides a continuous monitoring of the PCR reaction and allows for accurate quantification of the initial amount of DNA.

PCR has applications in environmental studies.

PCR is widely used in environmental studies to identify and monitor microorganisms, assess biodiversity, and detect harmful pathogens in water and soil samples. It provides valuable information for understanding ecosystem dynamics and assessing environmental impacts.

Digital PCR enables absolute quantification of DNA targets.

Digital PCR is a technique that allows for the absolute quantification of DNA targets without the need for standard curves. It offers unparalleled sensitivity and precision in quantifying low abundance targets and rare genetic variants.

PCR continues to evolve and improve.

PCR techniques and technologies continue to advance, with new variants and advancements being developed regularly. These innovations have expanded the capabilities of PCR, making it even more versatile and impactful in various fields of research and application.


The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is undoubtedly one of the most revolutionary techniques in molecular biology. Its ability to amplify specific DNA sequences has had a profound impact on various fields, including genetic research, diagnostics, forensic science, and biotechnology.Through this article, we have explored 17 fascinating facts about PCR. From its ingenious inventor, Kary Mullis, to its applications in genetic testing and disease diagnosis, PCR has proved to be an invaluable tool for scientists and researchers worldwide.PCR allows for the detection of minute amounts of DNA, making it possible to identify genetic mutations, trace ancestral lineages, and even determine paternity. Its versatility and accuracy have made it a cornerstone technique in laboratories across the globe.As we delve deeper into the world of molecular biology, it is essential to recognize the significant contributions of PCR and its impact on advancing our understanding of genetics and human health.


1. What is PCR?

PCR, or Polymerase Chain Reaction, is a technique used to amplify specific regions of DNA. It involves a series of temperature cycles that allow DNA strands to denature, anneal with primers, and replicate using a DNA polymerase enzyme.

2. Who invented PCR?

PCR was invented by Kary Mullis, an American biochemist, in 1983. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 for his groundbreaking work.

3. What are the applications of PCR?

PCR has a wide range of applications, including genetic research, forensic analysis, disease diagnosis, paternity testing, and the identification of genetic mutations.

4. How does PCR help in disease diagnosis?

PCR can detect the presence of pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, in a patient’s DNA sample. It is highly sensitive and can identify even small amounts of genetic material, making it a valuable diagnostic tool.

5. Is PCR only used in research laboratories?

No, PCR is widely used in research laboratories, but it is also used in clinical settings for diagnostic purposes. It has become a standard technique in genetics and molecular biology.

6. Can PCR be used for paternity testing?

Yes, PCR can be used for paternity testing. By comparing specific DNA sequences between a child and potential parents, PCR can determine the likelihood of biological relatedness.

7. How long does a PCR reaction take?

The time needed for a PCR reaction can vary. It depends on the length of the DNA sequence being amplified and the specific PCR protocol used. Generally, it can range from 2-4 hours.

8. Is PCR a reliable technique?

Yes, PCR is a highly reliable technique. It has been extensively validated and is widely accepted as a gold standard method for amplifying DNA.

9. What is real-time PCR?

Real-time PCR, also known as quantitative PCR (qPCR), is a variation of PCR that allows for the measurement of the amplification of DNA in real-time. It provides information about the starting amount of DNA in a sample.

10. Can anyone perform PCR?

PCR requires specialized equipment and reagents. While the basic principles can be understood by anyone, it is typically performed by trained scientists or technicians in a laboratory setting.