Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Amplification (Genetics)

  • Carlos Briones
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_73-3


In molecular biology, amplification is a process by which a nucleic acid molecule is enzymatically copied to generate a progeny population with the same sequence as the parental one. The most widely used amplification method is polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The result of a PCR amplification of a segment of DNA is called an “amplicon.” Nucleic acids can also be amplified in an isothermal reaction involving a reverse transcriptase, which copies RNA→DNA, and a DNA-dependent RNA polymerase, which transcribes DNA→RNA. Isothermal amplification does not generate double-stranded DNA, and it is mainly used for copying RNA. Ligase-based methods, including the so-called ligase chain reaction (LCR), can be also used for specific DNA or RNA amplification. A fourth general method for nucleic acid amplification involves cloning the selected DNA molecule into bacterial or eukaryotic cells, allowing them to reproduce, and collecting the amplified DNA.

See Also


Polymerase Chain Reaction Nucleic Acid Reverse Transcriptase Bioorganic Chemistry Eukaryotic Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC/INTA)Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasTorrejon de ArdozSpain