We currently have 4 PCR machines.
"Old School" Currently does not work
Biorad with broken lid, that works. Requires mineral oil on samples
Biorad that works ($1.00 score on ebay!)
openPCR Works, looks great, transition times might be slower than Biorad units.
PCR machines are essentially tightly controlled thermal cyclers that allow the performance of an enzymatic reaction that can produce millions or billions of copies of relatively short pieces of DNA in a highly specific manner from tiny starting samples
Acquiring a high number of copies allows a number of downstream application.
PCR is used for MANY applications. The lab currently uses it for:
Amplifying specific regions of the genome of insects, plants and fungi for species identification (DNA fingerprinting) Cloning genes from genomic DNA Modifying plasmids and genes to make them do neat things
Future goals: Phenotype analysis for human samples (Disease risk, interesting traits, etc) Microfluidic detection of viral diseases Fun public outreach labs activities (Solve the crime, Maury-who's the daddy?)