Our PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Main Article provides a comprehensive look at the who, what, when and how of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)

Definition of PCR (polymerase chain reaction)

PCR (polymerase chain reaction): PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a technique in molecular genetics that permits the analysis of any short sequence of DNA (or RNA) even in samples containing only minute quantities of DNA or RNA. PCR is used to reproduce (amplify) selected sections of DNA or RNA for analysis. Previously, amplification of DNA involved cloning the segments of interest into vectors for expression in bacteria, and took weeks. But now, with PCR done in test tubes, it takes only a few hours. PCR is highly efficient so that untold numbers of copies can be made of the DNA.


Last Editorial Review: 10/9/2012

Search MedTerms:



Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.