Essential PCR

The Essential PCR course is part of the Essential Short Course Series™ and is held over a period of three days.

This course is specifically designed to educate and train individuals in the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology. PCR technology has revolutionised the practice of science and is at the centre of the current explosion of technology in molecular biology. However, few individuals who currently use this technology received detailed formal training in this field. This course includes hands-on practical sessions that will provide the necessary background and experience to ensure that delegates are able to use PCR technology to its fullest potential, allowing them to be competitive in the global diagnostics or research environments.

Course Programme

Day 1

Introduction to PCR Theory

  • The ABC of PCR
  • The PCR template: DNA structure; Isolation of DNA
  • Critical components of a PCR reaction
  • Finding optimal conditions of a PCR reaction
  • Which DNA polymerase to use
  • How to cope with GC rich templates
  • Advantages of PCR
  • PCR kits and PCR products: What to look for when you buy
  • The internet as a PCR tool
  • Good PCR laboratory practice: How to avoid contamination
  • Cost effective PCR – where can you save

Discussion of Practical Session

Day 2

Practical Session I:   Performing a PCR Reaction

  • Delegates set up their own PCR reactions
  • Several PCR reactions will be performed to highlight the pitfalls of PCR
  • Preparation of agarose gels

PCR Applications I: PCR-based Genome Analysis

  • Mutation detection (direct and indirect), including restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), single stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) and allele specific (AS) PCR
  • Ligase chain reaction (LCR) which uses PCR-based technology

Practical Session II:   Performing a RFLP Reaction

  • Delegates set up their own RFLP reactions

Day 3

Practical Session III:   Performing a PCR Reaction

  • Delegates set up their own PCR reactions

Practical Session IV:   Analysing Results of the PCR Practical Sessions

  • Agarose gel electrophoresis of PCR products
  • Agarose gel electrophoresis of restriction enzyme digestion products


  • PCR troubleshooting, where to start
  • Discussion of results from practical sessions

PCR Applications II:   PCR-based Genome Analysis (continued)

  • Multiplex PCR
  • Long PCR
  • Nested PCR
  • Asymmetric PCR
  • Alu-PCR
  • Quantitative PCR (Real Time PCR)
  • RT-PCR
  • Arbitrary primed PCR
  • Amplification created restriction sites (ACRS)

This is a preliminary programme, and the sequence may change.

Comments of previous delegates on our Essential PCR™ short courses:

“These courses should or rather must be part of any honours year at university. Thank you for an excellent course.

“Really useful course which starts at “building blocks”.

“Feel more confident and ready to take future PCR on. Will highly recommend this course to scientists as it not only helps understand PCR but other aspects of GLP for PCR.”

“Extremely well organised and efficient course. Would certainly recommend to others, thank you very much for your effort.”

“I have found the PCR short course very informative, I think I have all the information I need for my project.”

“Thank you for an excellent course presented in a professional manner.”