In a striking move, Emeryville, Calif.-based Cetus Corp. is clarifymg its position on the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the company’s proprietary DNA amplification technology. This action comes after several months of confusion, doubt, and outrage within the scientific community over the firm’s unusual licensing policy for PCR.

Since bursting upon the scientific scene less than two years ago, PCR, the process by which scientists can rapidly duplicate strands of DNA in vitro, has stirred tremendous excitement. Its myriad applications have the potential to impact a broad range of disciplines: Scientists can duplicate genetic material a millionfold within hours, permitting the application of assembly line techniques to vast experiments not previously considered; clinicians are ecstatic over the broad range of tests that now may be performed on patient, specimens—from quicker discovery of genetic abnormalities in developing fetuses to the earlier identification of malignancies and infectious diseases like AIDS; and...

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