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Lab Manager Life Science Product Survey

PCR Equipment Survey Results

Learn which applications are most common and more from our latest PCR survey results

by Jason Kerkhof

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technology used to amplify a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude. This technique employs thermal cycling, which consists of repeated heating and cooling of the reaction for DNA melting and enzymatic replication. PCR has found applications in a variety of fields including medical and biological research, cloning, functional genetic analysis, forensics, and disease diagnosis.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying PCR Equipment

  1. Consider the type of equipment you need, whether it be standard PCR, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), or digital PCR.
  2. What sample formats do you require? While most users run their reactions in a 96-well format with 0.2 mL tubes, other formats are available.
  3. Consider the ramp temperature and time. Ideally, you want a system with fast temperature ramp up/cool down time, and with low error.
  4. How many users will be using the system? Systems that can run two independent PCRs at the same time might be desirable for labs with multiple users.
  5. Consider your throughput requirements. For high-throughput applications, systems that can accommodate larger plate formats, or that have integrated automation and robotics may be desirable.

Types of PCR performed by survey respondents:

Standard PCR77%
Real-time PCR / qPCR76%
Multiplex PCR34%
Digital PCR2%

PCR applications as reported by survey respondents:

Gene expression58%
DNA sequencing42%
Pathogen detection32%
SNP genotyping27%
Copy number analysis19%
Viral quantitation18%
Microarray/miRNA/RNAi validation18%
Site-directed mutagenesis15%
Microsatellite analysis12%

Nearly 50% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new PCR system. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
New application requiring different instrument
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a PCR system:

Consistent quality93%
User-friendly controls/software interface71%
Ease of use70%
Service and support61%
Multiplexing capability44%
Linear dynamic range41%
High-throughput ability37%

For more information on PCR equipment, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit