PCR tube strip being held by a gloved hand and a pipettor adding liquid to one of the tubes

Learn about PCR and qPCR plastics and plate seals, what to look for when deciding which to use, and the impact they can have on the quality of DNA amplification studies. Browse the FAQs on PCR plates and PCR tubes; find resources to support your PCR and qPCR efforts with a focus on PCR plastics.

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FAQs about PCR plates and qPCR plates

What are PCR plates?

PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) plates are specialized microplates designed for use in molecular biology research. They typically contain an array of 96 or 384 wells made of polypropylene, where each well holds an individual PCR or other reaction involving nucleic acids.

What is the difference between PCR and qPCR plates?

PCR plates are primarily used for standard PCR reactions, which involve amplifying DNA through a series of heating and cooling cycles. On the other hand, qPCR plates are used for quantitative PCR, which measures the amount of DNA present in a sample in real time. qPCR plate wells are typically made of white or frosted polypropylene to reduce background fluorescence, which can interfere with accurate detection of the target nucleic acid.

What are the benefits of using PCR plates over tubes?

Processing of multiple samples in parallel is easier in a PCR plate compared to individual tubes, saving sample preparation time and helping reduce user fatigue caused by capping and de-capping PCR tubes. Additionally, plates are more compatible with automated liquid handling systems, enabling further increases in throughput of PCR and qPCR workflows.

Can PCR and qPCR plates be used for other applications?

PCR and qPCR plates are well suited for many DNA and RNA applications including DNA sequencing, genotyping, and gene expression analysis. The versatility of these plates helps make them an essential item for molecular biology laboratories.

Can PCR and qPCR plates be reused?

PCR and qPCR plates are recommended for single use only. Re-use of plates heightens the risk of cross-contamination and unreliable results. If you routinely use less than half a plate, consider options such as segmented PCR plates and PCR strip tubes.

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FAQs about PCR tubes and strips

What are PCR tubes?

PCR tubes are small, coned-shaped vessels made of polypropylene and used in Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) experiments. PCR tubes are designed to avoid evaporation of the PCR reaction mixture (comprising DNA templates, primers, nucleotides, and polymerase enzymes) and withstand repeated temperature fluctuations that occur during the PCR reaction.

What is a PCR strip?

PCR strips, aka PCR tube strips, typically consist of 8 or 12 PCR tubes joined together in a linear arrangement. A PCR strip may have attached caps or utilize a strip of caps for tube sealing.

Individual PCR tube, 8-tube strip with separate cap strip, and 8-tube strip with attached caps
Figure 1. PCR tubes and PCR strips. (A) Individual PCR tube with domed cap. (B) PCR strip tubes with 2 domed cap options: cap strip or individually attached caps.

What are PCR strips used for?

PCR strips provide a convenient and efficient format for conducting multiple PCR reactions in parallel, making them a popular choice in molecular biology laboratories. The use of PCR tube strips facilitates handling and organization of the samples as well as simultaneous processing of multiple samples, helping save time and reducing labor. PCR strips compatible with standard thermal cyclers can be easily placed into the instrument's block for thermal cycling.

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Spotlight articles—PCR plastics

Additional PCR technical resources

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.