Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

Definition - What does Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) mean?

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a laboratory procedure where a subunit of a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule is removed to undergo a biochemical process of generating multiple copies from the original sample. DNA molecules comprise of double strands, or helixes, representing the genetic code of living organisms, which can be denatured (separated) by a thermal cycler. Polymerase is an enzyme that functions as a binding agent with nucleotides called primers in facilitating the replication cycle of the first DNA strand molecule.

WorkplaceTesting explains Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

Prior to the invention of PCR, the study of DNA molecules was a challenging and rigorous task in forensic medicine. The introduction of PCR technology expedites DNA-based cellular reproduction on a mass scale following the collection of blood and tissue samples. The facility and accuracy of a PCR unit can synthesize 25 to 30 cycles of an isolated DNA strand molecule. As a result, many fields of discipline utilize it to identify the genetic characteristics of a fingerprint or microbe.

The health industry benefits from PCR application for the diagnosis of pathological conditions such as cancer and other malignant growths. In the workplace, this biomedical advancement can help individuals acquire quick laboratory results of a suspected health concern while, incidentally, avoiding discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stipulates exclusive accommodations for individuals with mental and/or physical limitations. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) broadened the scope of eligibility to include conditions where cellular decomposition coupled with metastasis of cancer is a terminal factor. Employers are also obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to employees receiving chemotherapy treatment and/or undergoing remission.

Polymerase chain reaction is the leading standard for manufacturing sequences of target DNA strand molecules at an accelerated rate.

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