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Published on Aug 17, 2009

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a rap about the Polymerase Chain Reaction that highlights a few things:

*the beautiful way in which DNA is copied (using enzymes called Polymerases),
*the great insight of Kary Mullis to create a useful tool that could copy DNA in monumental, exponential manner (using primers and heating/cooling cycles).
* the human interest side of discovery: the first guy to invent a new technology may just end up with a Nobel Prize, and, should he/she choose, end up riding down Rodeo Drive with movie stars.
* DNA is cool. Although we all know that the future (and the past) is RNA, DNA is still cool and understanding a bit of the molecular biology of DNA, you can set yourself up for some great insights into biology, as well as understanding the many, many tools that utilize DNA's robust base-pairing for diagnostic or research purposes.


PCR Rap to the tune of Biz Markie's
"You got what I need."

Let me tell you a little story that you might like to know
About a biologist who made a lot of dough
He perfected a technique to copy DNA
Patents it and lives in a mansion today
His name is Kary Mullis he's a P-H-D
A regular Joe just like you and me
Except he figured out how to go far
He's the inventor of the technique called PCR
Polymerase chain reaction
It's a fancy name for the way things happen
When you take a double strand of DNA
And Copy copy copy it exponentially
Its method is simple but you must pontificate
On the mechanism by which DNA replicate
And therefore a review of its structure is necessary 16

Verse 2 You can isolate naked DNA in a tube anyone can do it its not hard to do We can take advantage of its physical properties: hydrogen bonds between strands, and the backbone - linked covalently. Each stand is made of three smaller parts a sugar, a phosphate backbone and a choice of nucleotides the sugar phosphate is the skeleton of the molecule and the nucleotides are the bearers of its good will because it is the ACT, and G that will
* base pair in a manner complementary. The hydrogen bonds between A and T, C and G Is the basis of the helix and what gives us an entry Because we will melt the molecules with heat and count on free nucleotides that we include in a heap to line up correctly with their counterpart on a strand this will form the basis of our copying plan as we heat the DNA - hydrogen bonds separate cool it down they reform piece of cake butif we put a primer in our reaction mix
* when the DNA cools the primers will afix themselves to the DNA at their hydrogen-bonded places acting to start catalysis of Polymerases because the hydrogen bonding of nucleotides means each new copy templates the other side so every heating cycle yields a copy of each strand then double double double -- geometrically expand 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 64, 128, 256, five-one-two with thirty cycles you can make one billion copies
* this is the reason Kary Mullis is called "Papi". 30

Oh baby you, double stranded DNA
Your helix I will cleave, If I give you enough heat
Oh baby you single stranded DNA
With heat-activated enzyme
I'll catalyze from 5 to 3-prime

Verse 3 this sort of probing can let you take the smallest of the smallest sample of DNA With PCR and a few cells you can begin to look inside that human genome, that beautiful book of life, it is living and I would be fibbing to tell you to society it doesn't give back -- IT IS Giving everyday PCR is used en masse hospitals, researchers, it helps their task and every time they use it because its licensed
* it gives a little money to our man yeah to him a graduate student turned millionare using his nuggets, he's got a flair in his ferrara now you be sorry you didn't study your biolo-G 14


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