Discovery of PCR principle
ohungnes at bioslave.uio.no
Fri Mar 11 11:09:46 EST 1994
The DNA amplification experiments of Dr. Kjell Kleppe are described in:
Kjell Kleppe et al (1971): Studies on polynucleotides XCVL. Repair
Replication of Short Sythetic DNA's as catalysed by DNA polymerases,
The final statement of the paper reads:
"The principle for extensive synthesis of the duplexed tRNA
genes which emerge from the present work are the following.
The duplex would be denatured to form single strands. This
denaturation step would be carried out in the presence of a
sufficiently large excess of the two appropriate primers.
Upon renaturation, one would hope to obtain two structures,
each containing the full length of the template strand appropriately
complexed with the primer: DNA poymerase will be added to
complete the the process of repair replication. Two molecules
of the original duplex should result. The whole cycle could
be repeated, there being added every time a fresh dose of the enzyme."
Seems like a perfectly good description of the PCR principle to me.
The impact of the idea at the time was, of course, limited by the
state of the surrounding technology. Oligonucleotide synthesis
was very cumbersome, DNA sequencing was not sufficiently developed etc.
And of course, the potential for automation given by a thermostable
polymerase was not realised. This last obstacle could have been
circumvented, though, if the other conditions had been met, for
instance by moving the reaction between sites of denaturing temperature
and enzyme anchored to solid phase.
It would be interesting to see how the case would stand in a non-US court.
Olav Hungnes ohungnes at extern.uio.no
National Institute Phone (+47)22042200
of Public Health FAX (+47)22353605
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