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PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR

The Essential PCR Troubleshooting Checklist

Routine PCR? Let’s be honest, there’s no such thing. Even with the simplest PCR reaction things can go wrong, so you need to have a good checklist of ideas for PCR troubleshooting and rectifying the problem. Today I have brainstormed all of the ways I can think of to approach problems with standard PCR reactions.…

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SPUD’s Your Bud When it Comes to Sensitive qPCR

There’s piloting a brand new technique for the first time. Then, there’s jumping through hoops trying to get an established lab technique to work. The former, in contrast to the latter, is expected to be fraught with hardships. Yet troubleshooting an old lab technique that isn’t working anymore, is frustrating at a whole new level.…

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PCR Problems? Try an Additive

You’ve tried all the usual stuff, and checked the primer sequences twice, but still can’t get that PCR fragment amplified. It’s time to enter the strange world of PCR additives. Over the years a variety of additives have been shown to enhance PCR reactions in certain situations. Here is a summary of some of the…

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How Thermophilic Bacteria Survive, Part II: DNA

In part I, I answered the question, “How do proteins in thermophiles survive under high temperatures?” In this part, I’ll look look at how nucleic acids survive -thrive, even- in conditions that are too hot for most of us, but ideal for a number of organisms, including the one that gave us Taq polymerase and…

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Time to Instigate Nested PCR

How to Obtain a Purer PCR Product and Reduce Non-specific Amplification Unless you’ve gotten your hands on some miraculously specific primers, amplification of only your target sequence without non-specific amplification can be very challenging. Thankfully, a clever and surprisingly simple solution is at hand! A Quick Recap of the Basics In PCR, you design your…

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Get that Genotyping PCR to Work EVERY TIME

Say you just joined a lab and have been assigned your very own project to work on. As part of your new responsibilities, you have to breed and maintain the mutant (or transgenic) mouse line which you will be using for your experiments. An integral part of mouse genetics experiments is determining the genotype of…

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Are You Ready for Your First qPCR?

Hope you had a heavy breakfast, because the first qPCR is going to take time. Did you remember to fill your coffee cup? There are a lot of intricacies in qPCR that will need your neural networks to be brisk. How qPCR differs from traditional PCR Unlike traditional PCR, qPCR measures the amplification of DNA…

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Life of the Party: Viability PCR (vPCR)

Viability PCR (vPCR) is a big step forward in PCR technology. Through the use of a simple pre-treatment of the sample(s) of interest using specific intercalating reagents, it is possible to neutralize the DNA of dead cells. As a result, only DNA from live cells will be amplified by PCR. Through the vPCR, it’s possible to…

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Smartphone PCR Apps for PCR-On-The-Go

For the busy scientist, a Smartphone is more than just a Facebook and Instagram viewer. In the past few years, apps have been developed that can also allow you to use your phone or tablet to design PCR and qPCR experiments on the go.

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10 Tips for Consistent Real-Time PCR

Real-time PCR is a specialized technique that delivers far more information about your DNA or RNA than end-point PCR. Essentially, real-time PCR is a way to visualize the amplification of specific DNA fragments as it is happening (in real time) and allows for the ability to quantify exactly how much DNA (or RNA) was in…

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Do You Know Where You Are? Find Out with Genome Walking

Do you work with plants? Are they genetically engineered? Do you know where and how? If not, you could experience problems. After all you do not want your transgenic gene cassette to disrupt genes that would affect your phenotype of interest. In this article I will tell you about Agrobacterium-mediated transformation – a widely used…

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Touchdown PCR: A Primer and Some Tips

When I first heard of touchdown PCR, I thought of a landing aircraft, which, as it turns out is not a bad way to think about it. But despite it’s amenability to analogies and dreadful puns (see title), touch-down PCR (TD-PCR), a very useful technique for improving PCR amplification specificity, is trickier that it might…

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