In Biotechnology there is a process known as PCR. PCR, or Polumerase Chain Reaction is widely performed through a series of heating cycles that pull apart, duplicate, and fuse back together the two strands of a DNA double helix, PCR creates new copies of DNA that are identical to the original.
Traditional PCR requires the material be heated to about 95C, wherupon the DNA strands seperate, or ‘denature’. The sample is then cooled a bit so the strands will anneal to ‘primers’, which are short DNA strands designed to bond to specific sections of the DNA strand. The sample is heated slightly more (72C) and activates an enzyme called polymerase that attaches itself to the end of the primer. The polymerase “extends” the primer’s length based on the original DNA, thus recreating the desired sequence.
During this “extension” step, the polymerase reacts with the original copy to produce a new chain of DNA, thus the name Polymerase Chain Reaction. Since this process happens for both of the original DNA strands, the amount of DNA is doubled after one PCR cycle. Over many cycles, PCR exponentially expands the amount of DNA you were started with.
One of the most fundamental applications of PCR is in medical diagnostics, and it is also one of the easiest to understand. Imagine that you are looking for a specific DNA sequence that represents a disease. In a small drop of blood, there may only be very few copies of this DNA in a sea of other random DNAs, making it incredibly difficult to find the disease DNA – a classic needle-in-a-haystack problem. With PCR, many copies of the needle are created, until eventually finding the needle, and the disease, is a piece of cake.
Thermal cyclers are naturally needed for this process, and they can cost $5,000 to $10,000 and can be quite bulky. But now AAS Inc, has introduced the new T-Heater PCR Thermal Cycler:
Slim and portable, the T-Heatre operates from internatl rechargeable battery or a 12V DC source. it is portable, much more affordable than standard PCR thermal cyclers and still has a great number of features including 16 PCR vial capacity, rotary knob, touch screen, and 15 program memory storage.
The T-Heater measures in at 8″ square and just under 2″ tall. It weighs in at 5.5 lbs. THe ehating precision is rated at =/- 0.2C and has a temperature ramp rate of 2-3C/second.
The T-Heater includes 12V DC power cord and the entire unit is covered by a 1 year warranty. Its size & price make it ideal for personal labs, portable labs or the classroom.
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