This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in


Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The polymerase chain reaction is a means of producing a large amount of DNA quickly. Given that the targetted region of DNA is known, a DNA polymerase enzyme, with its nucleotide substrate, is made to produce this region repeatedly by markers to the site at which it starts and finishes - complimentary oligonucleotide primers.

PCR has been used to:

  • amplify prenatal samples e.g. chorionic villus for cystic fibrosis
  • prepare larger DNA samples for 'fingerprinting' from isolates at crime scenes
  • diagnose infectious disease e.g. meningococcal meningitis
  • screen for malignancy e.g. for predisposing human papilloma virus in those with cervical carcinoma

Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page