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Biotechnology: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

Year 10 Science

Your Genome


PCR is a technique used in the lab to make millions of copies of a particular section of DNA. It was first developed in the 1980s

Science Learning Hub


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to make millions of copies of a target piece of DNA. It is an indispensable tool in modern molecular biology and has transformed scientific research and diagnostic medicine.

University of Queensland


The polymerase chain reaction is a technique which has revolutionized molecular biology since its development in the early 1980s. It allows researchers to amplify small amounts of DNA to quantities which can be used for analysis. 


How does PCR work and what is it used for? Learn all about a polymerase chain reaction in this 2 Minute Classroom video.

What is a polymerase chain reaction? Polymerase chain reaction is a technique used to massively multiply DNA, so that it can be analyzed using other techniques. It requires a thermal cycler, filled with the DNA sample to be multiplied, thermostable Taq polymerase, primers with which we select what gets multiplied, and free nucleotides of all 4 types - A, T, C and G. The first step is denaturation, then there’s annealing, and finally extension.

Khan Academy

Polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, is a technique to make many copies of a specific DNA region in vitro (in a test tube rather than an organism).



Sometimes called "molecular photocopying," the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a fast and inexpensive technique used to "amplify" - copy - small segments of DNA. Because significant amounts of a sample of DNA are necessary for molecular and genetic analyses, studies of isolated pieces of DNA are nearly impossible without PCR amplification.


Polymerase chain reaction ( PCR), a technique used to make numerous copies of a specific segment of DNA quickly and accurately. The polymerase chain reaction enables investigators to obtain the large quantities of DNA that are required for various experiments and procedures in molecular biologyforensic analysisevolutionary biology, and medical diagnostics.