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Is it vain to perform a PCR on samples whose DNA concentration was measured as nul by a NanoDrop?

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Nope, you could get amplification from samples that are orders of magnitude below the nanodrop detection limit (~2 ng/uL). To compare: most manuals for polymerases recommend 1 ng of plasmid template, and will probably work with much less, especially if you use a few more cycles.

But if you expected to see something on the nanodrop, and you get nothing, something else might be completely wrong.

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  • $\begingroup$ You can go down into the picogram range. And you could use nested PCR to ensure specificity. $\endgroup$ – Chris Nov 22 '16 at 15:44
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Some times nanodrop is unreliable. However, to be sure that you are not wasting your time, I would redo the extraction. Nanodrop in a lot of PCR methods is a control test to validate that the extraction went well. So, I would redo the extraction if I where you.

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