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Polymerase chain reaction

PCR is a series of temperature-controlled reactions which enable us to amplify a very tiny sample of DNA,  producing enough material for it to be analysed or used in DNA profiling.


Deoxyribonucleic acid. This is the molecule which contains the genetic code. It coils up tightly inside chromosomes. DNA is a double helix made from two strands which are joined together by pairs of bases.

Polymerase chain reaction

Just imagine ......

a technology enabling us to extract a tiny quantity of DNA from a single hair or drop of blood at the scene of a crime and increase the amount of it a million times or more so that it can be analysed

a technology allowing us to analyse the DNA from a bacterial or viral infection in order to diagnose an illness

a technology that makes it possible to mass-produce DNA from fossil remains, extinct for millions of years

This technology exists - it is the polymerase chain reaction.

Like all brilliant ideas, the polymerase chain reaction is incredibly simple yet extremely clever at the same time. This resource provides details of the reaction and its uses.

Click here to download the polymerase chain reaction poster shown below.

polymerase chain reaction poster