Polymerase chain reaction(PCR)

News:The Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) has said the designated labs will use the conventional real-time polymerase chain reaction(PCR) test to test for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.


About Polymerase chain reaction(PCR):

  • The polymerase chain reaction(PCR) is a technique which makes numerous copies of a specific segment of DNA quickly and accurately. 
  • It was developed by the American biochemist Kary Mullis in 1983.He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 for his pioneering work.
  • This technique enables investigators to obtain the large quantities of DNA that are required for various experiments and procedures in molecular biology, forensic analysis and medical diagnostics.

About PCR Test:

  • PCR test is conducted on a swab collected from the back of the throat, a liquid sample from the lower respiratory tract or a simple saliva sample. Such tests are commonly used in Influenza A, Influenza B and H1N1 virus detection.
  • Since,SARS-COV-2 is a virus made of RNA which needs to be converted into DNA.For this,the technique includes a process called reverse transcription. 
  • A ‘reverse transcriptase’ enzyme converts the RNA into DNA.Copies of the DNA are then made and amplified.A fluorescent DNA binding dye called the probe shows the presence of the virus.