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A speedier PCR detection system

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. PCR machines, which essentially make copies of DNA, have been used for years in biotechnology in forensics labs or at the doctor's office. Over the years, the technique has sped up from taking hours for results to a half hour. But now, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, have cut the reaction time down to a little over two minutes.

Beer:              We've pushed PCR as fast as it needs to go. I can't see trying to push it faster.

Narrator:       Lab scientist Reg Beer says they've partnered with engineers at the University of California, Riverside, to design a porous insert that allows their PCR system to quickly cycle through the hot and cold transitions necessary to get a reaction in less than five minutes.

Beer:              There's nothing hard in terms of manufacturing this, the thing that we have to do for anything that would go into medical care is it will have to make its way through FDA approval.

Narrator:       Aside from the doctor's office and criminology, other applications that would benefit from rapid PCR detection including agribusiness and food safety testing. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.