The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has launched an initiative, ZODIAC, to combat pandemics that originate in animals. In part, this involves the deployment of kits utilising real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (real time RT-PCR), which is described here as a "nuclear-derived" technique.

Nothing about the description, or my understanding of it from Wikipedia makes it clear how nuclear technology, isotopic composition, decay, etc. are involved in the real time RT-PCR technique, but the involvement if the IAEA implies a connection: what is this connection?

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    $\begingroup$ “Nuclear” here could be referring to a biological nucleus, though it is unclear from the linked website. $\endgroup$
    – acvill
    Nov 24 '21 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it doesn't seem like it's really a question of Biology. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 24 '21 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ From what I can tell from other press releases involving IAEA it seems that they're referring to the use of radioactive labels historically used in quantifying PCR products. These days it's principally done using fluorescence rather than radioactivity. Why this is at all relevant to IAEA seems like more of a political question rather than anything involving biology. My guess is that there is some UN policy that gives IAEA jurisdiction over "nuclear-derived techniques" and they're using this umbrella to include PCR, perhaps so they can spend IAEA money on COVID-related initiatives. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 24 '21 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ @user924308 I'm open to other views and expect my actions to be reviewed by others in the community, but I think the question as asked is not particularly close to being about the history of PCR. That is, I don't think a biologist would think of PCR as a "nuclear-derived technique", that designation is only really of relevance to the IAEA as a political entity. As you can see in the comments from acvill and Matt, for a biologist, "nuclear" means "related to the nucleus of a cell". Radioactive compound are "radio-" to us biologists, not nuclear. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 24 '21 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ I think "why does the IAEA consider PCR to be a 'nuclear-derived technique when modern PCR does not use radioactive materials" could be a good Politics.SE question, though. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 24 '21 at 19:18

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