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I think 30 cycle PCR is maximum to see bands by electrophoresis in most of cases, because under the ideal efficiency, one copy could be detectable by 34 cycles of PCR. However, if your expected products are longer than 1 kbp, you might extend several cycles. I usually add DMSO 5% in any PCR reaction. In my experience, DMSO would not interfere PCR ...


Generally I start with a temperature gradient running in 2 deg steps above and below the calculated Tm (which I calculate by the simple 2AT4GC method). If that fails, I might try something similar along with PCR "enhancers" - usually some variation on DMSO or betaine. Depending on the problem (detection/cloning from a reverse transcription reaction? ...

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