- Overview for teachers
- The mechanism of PCR
- Continuing the cycle
- PCR and agriculture
- PCR practical
- Sample assessment (PDF)
- Case study 1 - foreign fish in our market
- Learning outcomes for students
- PD for teachers
- Teacher information
- Experiment 1 - performing a BLAST search (PDF)
- Experiment 2 - creating a phylogenetic tree (PDF)
- Laboratory activity - Oxidation of Fish Oil (PDF)
- Case study 2 - oyster bloom
DNA PCR Overview
What is PCR? PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is a laboratory technique used for copying (cloning) large quantities of specific DNA sequences. PCR can use the smallest amount of DNA and amplify it into a usable amount for analysis. PCR begins with an enzyme that replicates DNA (Taq polymerase) and then uses the DNA as a template to create a new strand. DNA primers (short sequences of DNA) are created to match the end regions of the DNA that is to be copied to begin the process. PCR can be done in a few hours making it a very efficient process of DNA amplification.
How is PCR useful? Very small amounts of DNA can be used for PCR, producing millions of copies in only a few hours. The amplified DNA is used for diagnostic purposes and also for genetic manipulation.
What are the benefits of PCR? PCR can amplify a small amount of DNA in only a few hours. This amplified DNA can then be used for analysis. For example, isolating and amplifying a gene to produce salinity-resistant crops would be extremely valuable. Nutritional value of plants can also be increased with DNA manipulation.
How can PCR assist with Industry processes? PCR can be used to detect pathogens in food, ingredients, crops, etc. PCR can also be used for soil analysis to determine the most suitable soil region for harvesting crops.
What are the outcomes / objective to teaching PCR? Through teaching PCR in the classroom students will gain a better understanding of how specific genes can be targeted and amplified to be used for analysis and manipulation.