Copy That: The Basics of DNA Quantification and Amplification

Ranjit Raju gained experience with the latest technologies—including polymerase chain reaction (PCR)—which is vital to today's genetic research.

Raju first learned how to quantify extracted DNA from blood samples via spectrophotometry—a process that is necessary for the dilution and proper storage of DNA samples.

The prism-like spectrophotometer uses principles of light dispersion to measure the concentration of DNA in a given sample. Different chemicals/substances absorb particular wavelengths of light, which coincide with specific areas of the light spectrum.

Senior students then instructed Raju on how to amplify DNA by employing PCR. Using this technique, Raju generated a large number of copies of a specific piece or segment of DNA. These copies help investigators in our laboratory identify variations or mutations in genes believed to cause IBD and IBD-associated colorectal cancer.

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