Methods for Manipulation of Nucleic Acids

You will be learning many techniques to isolate, transfer, and analyze DNA in your biotechnology training. Some of the specialized pieces of equipment used for these procedures will include:

1) A thermal cycler is a machine that is used for amplification of a specific section of DNA by PCR (polymerase chain reaction). The machine cycles through several temperatures, which allows an enzyme called DNA polymerase to use chemicals in solution to build DNA molecules identical to a template provided.

2) An electroporator is used to discharge a high-voltage, high-amperage pulse of electricity of very short duration through a cuvette containing suspended cells to disrupt their plasma membranes, allowing DNA to be introduced.

3) A real-time PCR machine amplifies and measures the production of amplicons in one step. It is a thermal cycler and fluorescent analyzer in one instrument and is usually computer-controlled. You do not have to load your product onto a gel to determine if it was made; the machine measures its production photometrically.

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