Review: Open PCR Thermal Cycler

Let’s say you want to identify the mold on that leftover pizza or do a very discreet paternity test. You’re going to need DNA. A lot of it. Labs take the few molecules from a cheek swab and replicate them with a PCR machine until there are billions. But those machines cost $3,000 and up. The new OpenPCR box does the same for the cost of an iPad, and it’s about as easy to use. Place a little bit of your sample into a 0.2-ml plastic tube along with a few microliters of PCR mix, drop the tube into one of the dimples on top of the box, and enter the times and temperatures on the desktop control software. A few hours and dozens of heating and cooling cycles later, you’ve got enough DNA for sorting and sequencing. You do have a sequencing machine, right?

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