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General Terms and Concepts for Background Research in Biotechnology
As everyone knows, DNA is the abbreviation for "deoxyribonucleic acid," the sturdy stuff in the shape of the double helix that encodes the "blueprint" of every organism. A good place to start for learning more about DNA is the Dolan DNA Learning Center website, at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Their site has many excellent materials; be sure to check out "DNA from the Beginning": http://www.dnaftb.org/dnaftb/.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Sometimes called "molecular photocopying," this is the process used to amplify tiny amounts of DNA, producing accurate copies in sufficient amounts for identification by sequencing. The automated amplification process relies on a DNA-synthesizing enzyme that can work at elevated temperatures (Taq polymerase), derived from the bacterium Thermus aquaticus, which was discovered in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park.
The following link has a good introduction to the PCR method, as well as a bibliography for further research: http://opa.faseb.org/pdf/The%20Polymerase%20Chain%20Reaction.pdf .
This link has some interesting information on Thermus aquaticus: http://bioinfo.bact.wisc.edu/themicrobialworld/LAHT/b27.html.
You can find this page online at: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/BioChem_Resources.shtml
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