Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a laboratory technique used to amplify DNA sequences. The method involves using short DNA sequences called primers to select the portion of the genome to be amplified. The temperature of the sample is repeatedly raised and lowered to help a DNA replication enzyme copy the target DNA sequence. The technique can produce a billion copies of the target sequence in just a few hours.
PCR, or the polymerase chain reaction, is a chemical reaction that molecular biologists use to amplify pieces of DNA. This reaction allows a single or a few copies of DNA to be replicated into millions or billions of copies. And by amplifying that DNA, it allows us to study that DNA molecule in detail in the laboratory.
Name: Leslie G. Biesecker, M.D.
Occupation: Chief and Senior Investigator, Genetic Disease Research Branch; Head, Human Development Section and Physician Scientist Development Program
Biography: Dr. Biesecker's research focuses on the clinical and molecular delineation of human malformation syndromes. Currently, his laboratory is working on two classes of disorders, classic multiple congenital anomaly syndromes and segmental overgrowth disorders. The goals of his research program are to improve the medical care of patients affected by these disorders, provide generalized knowledge about the broad field of birth defects, and better understand basic mechanisms of normal and abnormal human development. Dr. Biesecker's group studies several multiple congenital anomaly syndromes, including Pallister-Hall syndrome, McKusick-Kaufman syndrome, Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Lenz microphthalmia syndrome.