Strengths of PCR

A couple of PCR’s strengths are that it is a simple procedure to set up and run, and requires only small amounts of starting DNA samples. It is now possible to get enough DNA to conduct a PCR analysis from merely a paper hole punch size of leaf tissue. Even just one human hair contains enough DNA, making PCR useful in forensics. Another advantage of PCR is that it is a very quick procedure. In as little as 2 hours, millions of copies of DNA can be made. Automation and robotic assistance are now available which allow the processing of many samples in a very short time. In a context such as plant breeding, this would mean that many individual plants can be sampled by simply collecting a small leaf tissue. They could then be 'PCRed' to screen for the presence of a particular gene of interest. Only those testing positive would be kept for the next plant breeding stage. For example, an automated PCR would make it simple to keep only those plants with a transgene after a backcross. See Lesson: Real Time PCR - Some Basic Principles.