HIGH THROUGHPUT: PE Applied Biosystems’ ABI 394 DNA/RNA Synthesizer is controlled by a Macintosh computer.
Polypeptides (proteins) and polynucleotides (DNA/RNA) are the two essentials of organic life. Just as detailed blueprints and clay bricks are essential to construction workers, shorter synthetic versions of these two molecular workhorses-peptides and oligonucleotides-are crucial to experimental biologists.

Biologists put oligonucleotides to nearly as many uses as Mother Nature does the genes that are constructed from them. Most common, perhaps, is the use of short stretches of DNA or RNA as primers for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), in which often very dilute genetic material of a specific organism is amplified to usable or detectable levels. Labeled oligos can "probe" samples by linking to an opposing strand through the Watson-Crick base pairing rules: Guanine will find its cytosine counterpart (G-C), while adenine and thymine converge (A-T). The presence of the target genetic material may be...

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