who'se your daddy?
January 11, 2008 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Scientists for better PCR
Just mix your template with a buffer and some primers, Nucleotides and polymerases, too.
Denaturing, annealing, and extending. Well it’s amazing what heating and cooling and heating will do.

The PCR Song
There was a time when to amplify DNA,
You had to grow tons and tons of tiny cells.

Then along came a guy named Dr. Kary Mullis,
Said you can amplify in vitro just as well.

Just mix your template with a buffer and some primers,
Nucleotides and polymerases, too.

Denaturing, annealing, and extending.
Well it’s amazing what heating and cooling and heating will do.

PCR, when you need to detect mutations.
PCR, when you need to recombine.
PCR, when you need to find out who the daddy is.
PCR, when you need to solve a crime.
posted by nihlton (23 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by nihlton at 4:03 PM on January 11, 2008

So, where can I buy a 1000-Series Thermal Cycler with the CFX96 Real-Time PCR Detection System optical reaction module?
posted by RichardP at 4:06 PM on January 11, 2008

You'll shoot your eye out, kid.
posted by darksasami at 4:08 PM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Biorad Blue.
posted by nowonmai at 4:08 PM on January 11, 2008

You down with OPP*? You klenow me!

* Other prokaryotic primers.
posted by lalochezia at 4:15 PM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm torn between hilarity and creepiness. I usually like this kind of thing, but bionerd humor from an equipment company doesn't have the same spontaneous, I-love-science daring to it.

Also the fine print below the video kinda ruins the joke:

Purchase of this instrument conveys a limited non-transferable immunity from suit for the purchaser's own internal research and development and for use in applied fields other than Human In Vitro Diagnostics under one or more of U.S. Patents Nos. 5,656,493,5,333,675,5,475,610 (claims 1, 44, 158, 160—163 and 167 only), and 6,703,236 (claims 1—7 only), or corresponding claims in their non-U.S. counterparts, owned by Applera Corporation. No right is conveyed expressly, by implication or by estoppel under any other patent claim, such as claims to apparatus, reagents, kits, or methods such as 5' nuclease methods. Further information on purchasing licenses may be obtained by contacting the Director of Licensing, Applied Biosystems, 850 LIncoln Centre Drive, Foster City, California 94404, USA.

Bio-Rad's real-time thermal cyclers are licensed real-time thermal cyclers under Applera's United States Patent No. 6,814,934 B1 for use in research and for all other fields except the fields of human diagnostics and veterinary diagnostics.

posted by Tehanu at 4:19 PM on January 11, 2008

I can't watch this past approximately the twelfth second.

Does no one have shame anymore? Ever? I'm unsubscribing from the internet.
posted by blacklite at 4:40 PM on January 11, 2008

LightCycler all the way for my DNA!
posted by francesca too at 4:45 PM on January 11, 2008

Fucking. Brilliant.

What's it about?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:28 PM on January 11, 2008

Remember, you can't have PCR without PR.
posted by wendell at 5:42 PM on January 11, 2008

good to see them employing all those singers with my health insurance money
posted by bhnyc at 6:08 PM on January 11, 2008

I like PBR just fine, thank you.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:16 PM on January 11, 2008

Wow. I'm glad I'm not the guy holding up the PCR machine though; last time we moved things around in the lab, ours were fairly heavy.

(I do have to say: more spontaneous expressions of science geekery, like the classic Protein Synthesis: An Epic on the Cellular Level, are, in fact, much more awesome.)
posted by ubersturm at 6:25 PM on January 11, 2008 [3 favorites]

I would have liked it more if they were standing on helical staircases.
posted by Tube at 6:51 PM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

To tie this into a recent thread, Mullis has said that LSD helped him come up with the polymerase chain reaction thing. DNA + LSD = nobel prize, apparently, judging from Mullis and Crick.
posted by Justinian at 6:56 PM on January 11, 2008

pff, BioRad.

Give me a RoboCycler and some Pfu Ultra II polymerase (1000 bases copied in 15 seconds!).

Yeah, Mari Mullis lore (regardless of what kind of nutso he's now) has it that he was driving down the highway with his girlfriend, evidently on LSD as Justinian mentioned, and the solid center lane and the dashed lane inspired the in vitro amplification of DNA.
posted by porpoise at 7:34 PM on January 11, 2008

I thought it was funny, and it will probably gain more traction among the target audience trading the link than yet another run of glossy brochures that hit the trashcan in the first 17 seconds.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:57 PM on January 11, 2008

This is my favorite line:

Denaturing, annealing, and extending.

Just cos I roll like that.
posted by Skygazer at 8:01 PM on January 11, 2008

I think it is BioRad that has a pretty cool high speed wester blot transfer device with the worst sales animation I've ever seen. When the narrator used the term "current carriers" to describe what is probably phosphate buffered saline moistened filter paper I had to stop watching lest I threw up on my desk.

I'm all for PCR, buit I'm more into D I Y.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:27 PM on January 11, 2008

Heh, I remember when I helped build a prototype bulk PCR for GlaxoWellcome (as was) back in the early 90's. Three open-topped hot water tanks the size of a garbage can held at various temperatures (95 degC, 55degC and 80degC or so) with tri-phase industrial heaters (don't touch that wire!) PC controlled motorised caddy able to do about a 1000 samples at a time (when most machines did 5-20) running along on builders scaffolding above the tanks, with beefy great electric motors on the wheels and to raise/lower the caddy at the right times.

That thing was the size of a 4x4, but by god did it move. Imagine something like this but *much* bigger and Heath Robinson, and with a big vertical tray for dipping.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:59 AM on January 12, 2008

Hilarious video.

ArkhanJG, did you guys grow your own polymerase too? I remember finding that Promega's Taq was super cheap, apparently because they refused to pay patent royalties. It gave a little illicit thrill to buy the stuff.

Here's an interview with Kary Mullis. I guess the rumors of nekkid lady slides in his talks were true.
posted by exogenous at 10:25 AM on January 12, 2008

Um, am I (apparently) the only MeFite who didn't know that PCR is lab-talk for "polymerase chain reaction?" (Thank you, Google.)

Anyway, although the music video's produced and hosted for commercial purposes (not that there's anything wrong with that!), I thought it was an excellent one.

The link raised in my mind the regretful observation that humankind -- which has produced countless "hymns" to sky-daddy superstition, er, I mean religious ideas -- very rarely celebrates in song the explorers, discoverers, & inventors (or their breakthroughs) that have radically transformed our everyday lives. In fact, such people and achievements are rarely celebrated in any meaningful way -- at best maybe a centennial postage stamp or the like.

Sure, there are many books dedicated to them, and the occasional museum or historical site ... once in a great while a film ... but not the enthusiastic celebration characteristic of religion or its music.

Think, for instance, of all the "faith-based" songs along the lines of flying away to be with various heavenly beings ... and then consider the songs celebrating the Wright Brothers, who (eventually assisted by a great number of other innovators) have made "flying away" a real-world experience or possibility for literally millions of us.

Perhaps evolution has not programmed the majority of us to associate deliberative types of achievement -- even those which save or dramatically improve millions of lives -- with the celebratory joy of music, feasting and the like. Or maybe because these are human achievements, we somehow don't have the same inclination to exalt them in the same way.

And too, perhaps on some intuitive level, we recognize that these positive human achievements also generally have a less positive consequence (pollution, better ways of waging war, overpopulation, etc.), unlike the appeal of religious idealism (which of course could never have any negative consequence ... except, of course, for those who decline to see "the Truth" and repent of "heresy," "witchcraft," and similar "sins").
posted by NetizenKen at 12:55 PM on January 12, 2008

You want to know the secret of PCR? Use a 10 microlitre pipette to measure the 0.1 microlitre volume of polymerase you actually need. The huge over-supply of enzyme will guarantee you something on your gel!

Good times. And a 38% mark. Ah well.
posted by alasdair at 3:29 PM on January 12, 2008

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