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Do-It-Yourself PCR Machine

Posted by Henry Kimball

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How’s This for The Science Fair.

A PCR machine in the science world is like a photocopier for the business world — it’s a staple in not only various laboratory research (such as genetic screens to identify Congenital Heart Disease-causing mutations), but in crime-scene forensics and heredity tests. 

A Polymerase chain reaction is a way to amplify a piece of DNA  to generate thousands to millions of copies of a sequence. Using primers, nucleotides, and the enzyme Taq polymerase as the DNA copying reagents, the PCR machines change temperatures for certain periods of time to undergo temperature-sensitive reactions and maximize the annealing processes for the PCR primers.

Professional machines usually are $10,000 dollars each. However, Russell Durrett built one himself for a fraction of the cost — using PVC pipes, a 150-watt lightbulb, a computer fan, a cheap microcontroller, and a few reagents he ordered online.

Check it out how to make it here:

http://www.popsci.com/sites/popsci.com/files/import/PopSciArticles/anchors/lightbulb-PCR-machine_.pdf

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