Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technology in molecular biology used to amplify a single copy or a few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence.

The method relies on thermal cycling, consisting of cycles of repeated heating and cooling of the reaction forDNA melting and enzymatic replication of the DNA. Primers (short DNA fragments) containing sequences complementary to the target region along with a DNA polymerase,

which the method is named after, are key components to enable selective and repeated amplification.

As PCR progresses, the DNA generated is itself used as a template for replication, setting in motion a chain reaction in which the DNA template is exponentially amplified. PCR can be extensively modified to perform a wide array of genetic manipulations.

Polymerase chain reaction – based tests at R.E.D. Laboratories

Available PCRs can be performed on blood, body fluids (cerebrospinal fluid, saliva, vaginal swabs, etc.), biopsies (intestinal, skin, etc.), ticks, etc.

R.E.D. Labs scientists developed a range of PCR-based assays (both conventional PCRS and real-time qPCRs) to support chronic infection testing. All amplified fragments are subject to sequencing in order to confirm the real positivity of the sample (i.e. to avoid false-positive results).

Currently available PCR tests for bacterial infections include: Mycoplasma spp, Mycoplasma fermentans, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Bartonella, Brucella, Coxiella, Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Chlamydias, Rickettsias, Midichloria mitochondrii, etc.

Currently available PCR tests for viral infections include: Herpesviruses like HHV-6, HHV-7, HHV-8, Parvovirus, EBV, Cytomegalovirus, West Nile virus, Coxsackie virus.

R.E.D. Labs scientists developed also a range of real-time qPCRs for mRNA quantifications of cytokines and immunity-related markers, like elastase, perforin, Th1/Th2 cytokine panel, pro-inflammatory cytokine panel, etc.

PCRs are also used for genotyping testing.

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