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Polymerase Chain Reaction Machine for amplifying DNA, Cambridge, England, 1988

DNA segments were amplified up to 30 million times using this prototype Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine. It was developed by Dr Peter Dean and Professor Sir Martin Evans (b. 1941) through the Cambio company in Cambridge, England in 1988. Such devices let scientists make millions of copies of scarce samples of DNA. It is shown with an ‘intelligent heating block’ (IHB), accessories and an operating manual. The first PCR machine was patented by CETUS in the US in 1985. Design of a comparable device began in Cambridge soon after. This machine was the first to be sold and was used at the National Institute for Medical Research laboratory in Mill Hill, London.

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Glossary: DNA

DNA stores the information, or blueprints, of every cell and is located in the genes. It is made up of two strands which form a double helix that is linked by hydrogen bonds. It was first described in 1953 by Francis Crick and James Watson.

Glossary: thermal cycler

A machine used for copying parts of DNA via the process of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).