PCR Anniversary

Innovation in PCR

Scientific achievement in genomics, biotechnology, and much of today’s understanding of molecular biology would not have been possible without PCR. Take a look at these highlights of the advances and the discoveries enabled by PCR.

PCR Anniversary


  • Kary B. Mullis develops the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that enables scientists to rapidly amplify DNA


  • Taq DNA polymerase use in PCR is announced by Henry Erlich
  • The first forensic use of DNA typing of HLA-DQA locus using PCR occurs in United States


  • Perkin Elmer introduced the first thermal cycler, DNA Thermal Cycler TC1
  • The journal Science prints the first description of PCR using thermostable polymerase


  • Invitrogen introduces SuperScript® I polymerase for reverse transcription


  • Applied Biosystems and Roche Molecular System introduces the first cloned recombinant Taq DNA polymerase, AmpliTaq® DNA Polymerase
  • The journal Science names Taq polymerase as its first “Molecule of the Year”
  • PCR enters the mainstream media via an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
  • The first use of PCR in linear amplification (or cycle) sequencing occurs


  • Applied Biosystems and Perkin Elmer introduce the DNA Thermal Cycler 480 with compressor technology


  • Russ Higuchi and his colleagues demonstrate the simultaneous amplification and detection of specific DNA sequences in real time
  • Kary B. Mullis receives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his invention of PCR


  • DNA fingerprinting using PCR becomes accepted in court as reliable forensic evidence, and comes to public attention in the O.J. Simpson trial
  • Applied Biosystems sold 30,000 thermal cyclers worldwide


  • Applied Biosystems introduces the first commercial real-time PCR instrument, the ABI PRISM® 7700, and to this day continues to innovate real-time PCR with increased scalability, flexibility, and throughput


  • An FBI database was put into practice allowing interstate cooperation in linking crimes


  • The PCR-based gene synthesis method in primer design is introduced by XinXin Gao and colleagues


  • The TaqMan® salmonella enteritidis detection kit has been cleared for sale by the Food and Drug Administration, making it easier to detect salmonella–contaminated eggs before they enter the market


  • Life Technologies launches a next generation real-time PCR instrument with maximum throughput and flexibility, QuantStudio™ 12K Flex Real-Time PCR system
  • Life Technologies announces a new next generation digital PCR instrument, QuantStudio™ 3D Digital PCR System

Principles of PCR


Applications of PCR


New PCR technology






For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures. TaqMan® is a registered trademark of Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., used under permission and license.