Theory and applications of the polymerase chain reaction

D. G. Remick, S. L. Kunkel, E. A. Holbrook, C. A. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a newly developed molecular biology technique that can significantly amplify DNA or RNA. The process consists of repetitive cycles of specific DNA synthesis, defined by short stretches of preselected DNA. With each cycle, there is a doubling of the final, desired DNA product such that a million-fold amplification is possible. This powerful method has numerous applications in diagnostic pathology, especially in the fields of microbiology, forensic science, and hematology. The PCR may be used to directly detect viral DNA, which may facilitate the diagnosis of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or other viral diseases. PCR amplification of DNA allows detection of specific sequences from extremely small samples, such as with forensic material. In hematology, PCR may help in the diagnosis of hemoglobinopathies or of neoplastic disorders by documenting chromosomal translocations. The new PCR opens exciting new avenues for diagnostic pathology using this new technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S49-S54
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number4 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 1990


  • AIDS
  • Diagnostic pathology
  • Forensic pathology
  • Gene amplification
  • Hematology
  • Polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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