Codebreaker

DNA goes DIY

John Moe Jul 8, 2011

Looking for an affordable way to research DNA? Well now a $512 model, brought to light thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, can be yours. The machine is called OpenPCR.

A description from from their website:

“The Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, is a method of replicating DNA. It is capable of taking a small amount of DNA, or even a single molecule, and amplifying (copying) a specific region exponentially, such that once the reaction is finished, there may exist up to 230 copies of each starting molecule (do the math — that’s more than a billion!).This is important because DNA of interest often exists in quantities too small to detect, or may be mixed in with other DNA. For example, an accurate test for HIV must be able to detect a single virus particle in 50,000 cells. PCR is able to do this by targeting a small region of DNA that is specific to the HIV virus. If the virus exists in a sample, amplification will occur which can be easily detected. If no virus is present, no amplification will occur.The specific region of targeted DNA is determined by how the reaction is setup, based on the specific “PCR primers” added to the reaction mixture. Virtually any sequence of DNA can be targeted.”

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.  

Need some Econ 101?

Our new Marketplace Crash Course is here to help. Sign-up for free, learn at your own pace.