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Open source biotech on your desktop

July 2, 2010


Never think of becoming of biologist, would you?

Now, the open source biotech on your desktop (OpenPCR) provides an opportunity for you. The OpenPCR kickstarter project is here. The OpenPCR official site is here. The project was initiated by Tito Jankowski and Josh Perfetto, They are biohackers from California. Tito has been involved in the Open Gel Box 2.0 project to make the electrophoresis chambers.

What is the PCR?

Kary Banks Mullis invented the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in 1983, which brought him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993. It is used to to amplify a single or few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence. PCR is central to the biochemistry and molecular biology industries.

How PCR works?

The central piece of PCR is the thermocycler. It is programmed to alter the temperature of the reaction every few minutes to allow DNA denaturing and synthesis. DNA denaturing and synthesis can occur 30 to 40 times in several hours leading to billion copies of the original one, source.

How hard to make a PCR?

The difficulty of making a PCR to work is slightly more than making a thermocycler. But, the whole process of DNA test is intricate, which requires a lot of training and experiences. This is also the challenge of OpenPCR project – How to make OpenPCR really work for many less trained public eventually.

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