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Not sure if this question is still valid, but it was marked as unanswered and frequently viewed, so here's a go :) These days most polymerases (certainly for Real Time PCR) are so-called Hot Start enzymes (ask your manufacturer, because they save you a whole lot of trouble!). They are modified with a protein that prevents them from working until activated ...


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The Eighth Day of Creation by Horace Freeland Judson is quite good, in the genre you're looking for. Also, Science as a way of Knowing may fit the bill.


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Although it's not stricly about biology, A short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson, especially chapter 5, is a good start to look for historical experiments.



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