Constuction of a Microcontroller Based PCR Machine

Johanna Schlatter, David Pitsch, Dominik Neu

project report

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allows DNA to be copied in vitro and therefore it plays an important role in biomedical labs, e.g. for detection of genetic diseases and viral infections, genetic fingerprinting and cloning of genes. PCR is one of the most important techniques of molecular biology and it has been essential for the Human Genome Project and other progress in this field.

We believe that biology lessons greatly benefit from clear experimental demonstrations, especially with respect to abstract topics such as molecular biology. Hands on examples help understanding the complex world of DNA and its relevance to practical applications can awaken an interest in science.

A PCR machine costs € 5000 or more, making it too expensive for a school. Therefore, we set ourselves the goal of constructing a PCR machine for a fraction of this amount. We will publish the plans and relevant files so that any interested school can build our PCR machine for use in the classroom.

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