The 2000s were marked by a substantial increase in PCR throughput with the introduction of new techniques like fast PCR, as well as advances in thermal cycler technology. These innovations paved the way for discoveries that have changed the course of science, including:
- In 2007, Eric Lander and Matthew Meyerson published the first genome-wide study of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death worldwide.1 It was one of the first comprehensive studies of a cancer genome. Their work clearly demonstrated that genomics was a powerful research method in their study for detecting cancer-related genes and they used the Applied Biosystems™ GeneAmp™ PCR System 9700.
- Also in 2007, The International HapMap Consortium published the second-generation map of human genetic variation.2 Phase II of the HapMap Project contained more than 3.1 million genetic variants, over three times the number in the initial HapMap release. These data significantly improved our power to detect common genetic variants involved in human disease research.
Fast PCR system
Fast PCR helped to dramatically speed up thermal cycler run times, typically from approximately two hours to less than 40 minutes. Before Fast PCR, researchers were limited to only four runs per 8-hour day at best, and less when multiple researchers shared the same thermal cycler.
Several advances in thermal cycler technology enabled Fast PCR:
- The capability to work with fast chemistry with significantly shortened hold times at denaturation
- The ability to achieve faster temperature ramp rates
- The completion of a successful PCR reaction of 30 cycles in 15 minutes
In 2004, the Applied Biosystems™ GeneAmp™ PCR System 9800, the first thermal cycler to feature Fast PCR technology, was introduced.
Thermal cycler technology firsts
Several other breakthrough thermal cycler technologies were introduced in the 2000s, including:
- High-density, dual 384-well interchangeable thermal blocks with the first automated heated lid in the GeneAmp PCR System 9700
- Color LCD touch-screen technology, first available in the Applied Biosystems™ Veriti™ Thermal Cycler, which allowed even first-time users to easily set up a PCR experiment
- Applied Biosystems™ VeriFlex™ technology, introduced with the launch of the Veriti Thermal Cycler, was the only digital zonal temperature control that outperformed gradient technology during PCR optimization
Learn more at thermofisher.com/30yearsofinnovation
For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.
1 Weir B.A. et al. Characterizing the cancer genome in lung adenocarcinoma. Nature 450, 893-898 (6 December, 2007).
2 International HapMap Consortium et al. A second generation human haplotype map of over 3.1 million SNPs. Nature 449, 851-861 (18 October, 2007).
Sr. Product Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Kenneth has 20 years of experience with PCR-related products. He began his career as a project engineer and was responsible for the transfer of thermal cycler technology to manufacturing. He moved into the development of thermal cyclers as an R&D system engineer, and then managed PCR and qPCR thermal cycler programs. Currently, he is a thermal cycler and PCR plastics product manager.