Since its original development by American biochemist Kary Mullis in 1983, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has become one of the most widely used and important technologies in molecular biology. The ability for researchers to target a specific section of DNA and recreate multiple copies of identical sequences provides an invaluable tool for a variety of fields ranging from DNA fingerprinting to the detection of bacteria or viruses. By employing the same principles as the nucleus’ machinery for DNA replication, PCR produces a complementary DNA that is then transcribed to generate an identical segment of DNA to the original target segment. The use of PCR has greatly refined many experimental procedures, some of which would require many animal subjects. By running a PCR, rather than breeding numerous animals, researchers have access to an effective alternative that successfully obliges the principles of the 3Rs.
To learn more about PCR, visit the NCBI page.