AAT Bioquest

What is RT-PCR?

Posted February 25, 2022


RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase PCR) is a laboratory technique that is used to generate several copies of a genetic sequence of interest for analysis. The starting genetic material in RT-PCR is RNA. During the process, the reverse transcriptase enzyme changes a specific piece of RNA into a matching piece of DNA. Another enzyme, DNA polymerase, amplifies the newly generated piece of DNA.

Researchers study the amplified DNA copies to determine whether a specific mRNA is being produced by a gene. The process requires an RNA template, enzyme, buffers, nucleotides, and thermocyclers.

RT- PCR is a variation of the traditional PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) in which the starting genetic material is DNA. 

RT-PCR is used in research laboratories to study gene expression and measure expression levels. Clinically, it is used to diagnose genetic diseases and monitor drug therapy.

Additional resources

Real-Time Reverse Transcription–Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay for SARS-associated Coronavirus

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