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Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a type of test that can identify specific types of genetic material (DNA) in a small sample.
PCR is useful for many purposes, such as for:
PCR works by taking a small sample containing DNA and using an enzyme called a polymerase to make many copies of that DNA. The process of copying the DNA is done in cycles that are repeated up to 30 times or more. Millions or even billions of copies of the DNA may be made during PCR.
Last Revised: May 31, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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