CLONTECH's SMART RACE cDNA amplification process diagram
On your mark, get set, go! And the RACE is on to obtain that potentially elusive full-length cDNA for characterizing the best gene ever. In the molecular biology arena, RACE refers to rapid amplification of cDNA ends, a PCR-based cloning strategy used to obtain clones representing transcripts of the int-2 gene, expressed at low abundance in the early mouse embryo.1 Traditional methods of cDNA production, such as constructing and screening cDNA libraries, and identification of differentially expressed mRNAs by differential display or RNA fingerprinting usually produced only partial cDNA fragments, and the turnaround time could be many painful days or weeks.

Early RACE protocols did minimize the time expenditure problem by eliminating steps, but other shortcomings remained: high background noise due to the generation of nonspecific PCR products, which often required a second round of PCR with nested...

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