What Are the Differences Between PCR and Cloning?

Science has come a long way in understanding DNA.
••• science image by guy from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and its scientific relative, cloning of expressed genes, are two biotechnological breakthroughs of the 1970s and 1980s that continue to play significant roles in the effort to understand disease. Both of these molecular technologies give scientists the means to make more DNA in different ways.

History

Molecular biologist Kary Mullis revolutionized gene science when he conceived of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the spring of 1983, which earned him the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This breakthrough came on the heels of cloning research that dates back to 1902. No major advances in cloning happened until November, 1951, when a team of scientists in Philadelphia cloned a frog embryo. The big breakthrough occurred on July 5, 1996, when scientists cloned “Dolly” the lamb from a frozen mammary cell.

PCR and Cloning

Cloning is simply making one living organism from another, creating two organisms with the same exact genes. PCR enables scientists to produce billions of copies of a piece of DNA within hours. Although PCR impacts cloning technology by producing large quantities of DNA that can be cloned, PCR faces the difficulty of contamination, where a sample with unwanted genetic material can also be replicated and produce the wrong DNA.

How PCR Works

The PCR process involves breaking down DNA by heating it, which unwinds the DNA double helix into separate single strands. Once these strands are separated, an enzyme called DNA polymerase reads the nucleic acid sequence and produces a duplicate strand of DNA. This process is repeated again and again, doubling the amount of DNA each cycle and increasing the DNA exponentially until millions of copies of the original DNA are created.

How Cloning Works

DNA cloning involves first isolating the source and vector DNA and then using enzymes to cut these two DNA. Next, scientists bond the source DNA to the vector with a DNA ligase enzyme that repairs the splice and creates a single DNA strand. That DNA is then introduced into a host organism cell, where it grows with the organism.

Applications

PCR has become a standard tool in forensic science because it can multiply very small samples of DNA for multiple crime lab testing. PCR has also become useful for archaeologists to study the evolutionary biology of different animal species, including samples thousands of years old. Cloning technology has made it relatively easy to isolate DNA fragments that contain genes to study gene function. Scientist believe that reliable cloning can be used to make farming more productive by replicating the best animals and crops and also to make medical testing more accurate by providing test animals that all react the same way to the same drug.

Related Articles

Difference Between Recombinant DNA & Genetic Engineering
The Role of Taq Polymerase in PCR
What Are the Benefits of Proteins Produced Through...
The Production of Recombinant Human Growth Hormones...
What Is Embryo Cloning?
How Do Scientists Construct Recombinant DNA Molecules?
How Is DNA Splicing Used in Biotechnology?
Difference Between Homozygous & Heterozygous
Who Invented Cloning & When?
Interesting Facts About DNA Fingerprinting
How Are Restriction Enzymes Used?
Recombinant DNA Technology for Vaccine Development
The Pros & Cons of Cloning
What Is It Called When Bacteria Divide Into Two Cells?
Advantages & Disadvantages of Cloning
Uses of DNA Extraction
Comparison of Cloning to Mitosis
What Are GMOs Used For?
What Is the Importance of Nucleic Acids?
The Importance of Studying Human DNA Genetics

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!