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No Polymerase Chain Reaction Test Without Detecting It: The Death of Microbiologist Thomas Brock (94) |  medical

No Polymerase Chain Reaction Test Without Detecting It: The Death of Microbiologist Thomas Brock (94) | medical

The most accurate way to detect coronavirus in someone is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. The American Thomas Brock, who paved the way for what would eventually become a PCR test decades later with his discovery of Thermus aquatiqus, is no longer in existence. A microbiologist (94) died at his home in Wisconsin early this month, according to reports New York times.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detects the genetic material of the virus, and how much virus is present. Lab technicians can provide the answer hours later. On the other hand, the least effective rapid test is the antigen test and it only detects the presence of certain viral proteins.


Brooke of Indiana University showed in 1966 that life in boiling water was possible. Two years earlier, he had gone to Yellowstone National Park in California, where he was able to isolate single-celled organisms in hot springs that could survive even above the boiling point of water. Something that was previously not considered possible. Brooke was stunned, too. The bacteria were called Thermus aquaticus.

Ten years later, two biology students were able to extract an enzyme from Proc bacteria, which they called Taq polymerase. Taq refers to Thermus aquaticus. DNA polymerase is an important tool for cells as they reproduce. I know EOS Science. The enzyme helps copy the DNA of the new cells. Taq polymerase was shown to be unique in that it does not decompose at high temperatures.

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Hot and cold

In the 1980s, biochemist Carrie Mullis was the first to use Brock’s Taq polymerase to amplify DNA, which turned out to be a golden step. The DNA is copied completely and accurately so that every daughter cell receives the same genetic information as the parent cell. Only by heating the DNA, the Taq polymerase was left as the only enzyme, which allowed DNA to proliferate. Once cooled, the Nobel Prize winner Mullis (1944-2019) began heating and cooling, resulting in twice the amount of DNA per cycle.

It eventually leads to enough DNA for further research. A PCR test was born. DNA cloning helps rule out things. The transcription of the viral gene in the research sample cannot be tracked, and this changes if the gene has millions of copies – thanks to PCR – that becomes visible. Then you can check whether the sample contains the virus or not. The time savings as a result is enormous.

“In everything we do today in molecular biology, polymerase chain reaction is fundamental,” says infection scientist Yucca Manabe from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the commentary. The New York Times. “Mullis could never have achieved a polymerase chain reaction without a rock solid enzyme (referring to the Thermus aquaticus discovered by Brock).” Brooke died from an accidental fall.