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Pcr Techniques and Systems Used in Today's Military Essay

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PCR: Techniques and     1

Comprehensive Exam Question 2 from Dr. Lux
PCR: Techniques and Systems Used in Today's Military
Chastity Howard
University of Southern Mississippi

PCR: Techniques and     1
The use of molecular probes and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the identification of microorganisms in body fluids or tissues is becoming more commonplace in today’s world. There is an added advantage when serological or culture methods are difficult, expensive, or unavailable.   Slow-growing or fastidious microorganisms, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, spirochetes, viruses, and the dimorphic fungi, can be detected rapidly using these techniques, as well as, identifying the presence of different chromosomal or plasmid-mediated antibiotic-resistant markers.   PCR is an extremely powerful tool that has been applied to research, and more recently it has been used to augment standard clinical applications.   It is a very simple process that can amplify nucleic acid sequences, both DNA and RNA, a million times over.   The sensitivity, speed, broad applicability, and compactness of this technology make it an ideal candidate for use in the military arena.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a revolutionary method developed by Kary Mullis in the 1980s.   It is based on using the ability of DNA polymerase to synthesize a new strand of DNA complementary to the offered template strand.   Because DNA polymerase can add a nucleotide only onto a preexisting 3'-OH group, it needs a primer to which it can add the first nucleotide.   This requirement makes it possible to define a specific region of a template sequence for which the researcher wants to amplify.   At the end of the PCR reaction, the specific sequence will be accumulated in billions of copies, or amplicons.
The PCR technology is now a common and often indispensable technique used in medical and biological research labs for a variety of...

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