PCR: The Foundation of Syndromic Testing

Polymerase chain reaction technology is at the heart of our mission here at BioFire: to provide syndromic infectious disease diagnostic solutions that help make the world a healthier place.

What is PCR?

PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction. It is a revolutionary chemical process that makes it possible to rapidly and exponentially amplify targeted nucleic acid. According to its inventor, American biochemist Kary Mullis, PCR “lets you pick the piece of DNA you’re interested in and have as much of it as you want.”1

The potential to produce millions to billions of copies of a particular segment of DNA or RNA is useful for sequencing, analysis, and experimentation—especially when an initial sample is too small to utilize by itself. Since its discovery in 1984, PCR has become fundamental to the field of microbiology. It is a simple technique with myriad applications, from criminal forensics to the detection of pathogens.