DNA thermocycler-Zane Moran



    The website for OpenPCR is http://openpcr.org/the-machine/.

    This is the inside of the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine.

    The PCR machine is currently heating the PCR tubes at 91˚C. Soon the DNA double helix separates, creating two single-stranded DNA molecules. After it cools down to about 50˚C, single-stranded DNA molecules naturally attempt to pair up. The extra primer sequences lock onto their target before strands can rejoin. Then it will heat back up to 72˚C which activates DNA polymerase. When DNA polymerase locates a primer attached to a single DNA strand, it begins to add complementary nucleotides onto the strand. After three times through this process the final product are two strands that begin with primer one and end with primer two. These specific DNA strands are copies of just the segment of DNA you have targeted.

    The complete PCR setup. The laptop running the PCR program, the PCR machine and the gel electrophoresis in the back.

    During this step, the DNA is placed in sample tubes in a balanced configuration in a microcentrifuge, and spin for 90 seconds at full speed. This concentrates the cells into small pellets so we can isolate just the cells.

    The clear box with electrical cords going into it is called the Gel electrophoresis. This is used to separate DNA, RNA, or protein. The DNA can be made to move through a gel made of agar. The molecules being sorted are dispensed into a well in the gel material. The gel is placed in a electrophoresis chamber, which is then connected to a power source. When the electric current is applied, the larger molecules move more slowly through the gel while the smaller molecules move faster.