Double Helix Lab Report

Decent Essays
DNA extraction and the use of PCR to detect genetic diseases


“The double helix is indeed a remarkable molecule. Modern man is perhaps 50,000 years old, civilization has existed for scarcely 10,000 years and the United States for only just over 200 years; but DNA and RNA have been around for at least several billion years. All that time the double helix has been there, and active, and yet we are the first creatures on Earth to become aware of its existence.” Francis Crick (1916–2004). DNA, the conductor in the orchestra of life. It defines everything about us, and studying it, through genetics, is the area of biology that has always captured my imagination. The idea that we can extract just one strand of someone's DNA and
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It is used to amplify a sample of DNA, creating thousands or even millions of copies of a certain sequence of DNA. "The story of modern PCR begins in 1976 with the isolation of Taq polymerase from the thermophilic bacterium Thermus aquaticus" ( However, it really became prominent in 1988 when Kary Mullis, along with the Cetus Corporation, made the enzyme available for widespread use. This new automated use of PCR quickly made it indispensable to medical science, being used to detect both hereditary and infectious diseases, clone DNA, paternity tests (using genetic fingerprints) and DNA-based phylogeny. In 1989, Taq Polymerase was named the 'molecule of the year' by Science magazine. Showing further what a ground-breaking discovery this was in the field of science, Mullis, along with Michael Smith, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993. With this discovery, Kary Mullis had fulfilled the words of his own quote; "Science consistently produces a new crop of miraculous truths and devices every
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