Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences

Mentor

Dr. Richard Rediske

Abstract

Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), also called real-time PCR, has become a cornerstone of DNA analysis, enabling detection of minute amounts of nucleic acids (Whittwer et. al, 1997). In 1983, Kary Mullis developed a new method of genetic amplification—the polymerase chain reaction [PCR] (Bartlett & Stirling, 2003). A little over 20 years later, PCR now is a common and often crucial technique used in medical and biological research laboratories for a variety of applications. Some of these applications include DNA cloning for sequencing, DNA-based phylogeny, the diagnosis of hereditary diseases, the identification of genetic fingerprints (used in forensic sciences and DNA paternity testing), and the detection and diagnosis of infectious diseases. qPCR is a modification of the classic PCR method which, due to the presence of a fluorescent-labeled probe, allows for the quantification of DNA. Precise DNA quantification is a valuable insight that qPCR provides over other diagnostic techniques and can affect treatment options or preventative measures. This is especially the case in the detection of infectious diseases, where pathogens may be harmless in insignificant amounts but cause disease once the infectious dose is reached. With the prevalence of this technique and its many uses, it is important to research qPCR and its successes as well as its potential issues.

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