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Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and techniques based on this method, were advanced by Kary Mullis in 1983, for which he later received the Nobel Prize. Since then, PCR has grown and evolved out of all recognition and it is now the most widely used technique in molecular biology, biochemistry and medicine.

The numbers of applications for PCR are considerable and include sequencing, fingerprinting, cloning, disease research, diagnostics, drug discovery, disease biomarkers and forensics. Such has been the impact of this technique in the life science field that some observers have referred to two epochs – “Before PCR” and “After PCR”.¹

Bucking current economic trends, PCR is growing by more than 13% per year and by 2015 global markets are expected to exceed $27 billion.² This is almost three times greater than the global markets for microarray, flow cytometry and mass spectrometry put together.

A recent market study (PCR 2012) by Biopharm Reports found that more than 50 PCR techniques are now being used. These are dominated by qPCR, RT-PCR, Hot Start, Multiplex and Taqman techniques. This study showed continued growth of these techniques, along with other methods such as Long PCR, Nested PCR, Allele and Methylation‐Specific PCR (MSP).

PCR 2012, which involved the participation of 733 PCR end-users in 84 countries, was carried to evaluate markets and technology developments in this field. Its findings provide a wealth of information on current and emerging areas. These offer assistance to PCR developers, vendors and investors in this field, and enable scientists to compare their own practices with others.³

Report: PCR 2012: A Focus on Sales Growth

John Bates Ph.D
Biopharm Reports
+44 (0) 7870 204848


1 Wade, Nicholas (September 15, 1998), "Scientist at Work/Kary Mullis; After the 'Eureka', a Nobelist Drops Out", The New York Times.
2 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): Products/Tools - A Global Market Watch, 2009-2015"; Axis Research Mind, Nov 2011
3 Report: PCR 2012: A Focus on Sales Growth

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