Next-Generation PCR Diagnostics: Ushering in a New Era of Molecular Testing

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has revolutionized diagnostic medicine by enabling the detection of minute amounts of specific DNA sequences. However, the next generation of PCR diagnostics (NextGen PCR) is pushing the boundaries even further, offering a suite of advancements that are fundamentally changing the landscape of molecular testing.

Terra PCR Direct Polymerase Mix and Assays

 Multiplexing Power: Traditional PCR typically targets a single DNA sequence. NextGen PCR, on the other hand, leverages innovative techniques like microfluidics and compartmentalization to amplify and detect multiple targets simultaneously within a single reaction. This "multiplexing" capability offers several advantages:

  • Broader Pathogen Detection: In the context of infectious disease testing, NextGen PCR can simultaneously identify a panel of pathogens associated with a particular illness, reducing the need for multiple singleplex PCR tests and expediting diagnosis.
  • Expanded Genetic Analysis: For genetic testing, NextGen PCR can analyze numerous genes or mutations in a single assay, aiding in comprehensive disease profiling and personalized medicine strategies.

High-Throughput Efficiency:  NextGen PCR platforms are designed for massive parallel processing, analyzing millions of DNA molecules concurrently. This high-throughput nature translates to:

  • Faster Results: Large numbers of samples can be processed rapidly, significantly reducing turnaround time compared to traditional PCR. This is crucial in scenarios like outbreak investigations or time-sensitive diagnoses.
  • Increased Scalability: NextGen PCR platforms can be readily scaled up to accommodate high testing volumes, making them ideal for clinical laboratories with heavy workloads.

Beyond Detection: Targeted Sequencing:  Some NextGen PCR platforms integrate targeted amplicon sequencing. This powerful approach not only detects the presence of a target DNA sequence but also sequences specific regions of interest within the amplicon. This added benefit provides:

  • Variant Identification: Targeted sequencing facilitates the identification of specific genetic variations or mutations within the amplified target, aiding in the diagnosis of genetic disorders or monitoring treatment response.
  • Strain Differentiation: In the context of infectious diseases, targeted sequencing can differentiate between closely related bacterial strains, crucial for implementing appropriate treatment strategies.

Absolute Quantification: Digital PCR Enters the Fray:  Digital PCR represents a revolutionary advancement in NextGen PCR.  Unlike traditional PCR, which relies on relative comparisons of amplified DNA, digital PCR employs a unique approach to achieve absolute quantification of target DNA molecules. This method involves partitioning the reaction mixture into thousands of microscopic wells, each potentially containing zero or one target molecule. By statistically analyzing the number of positive wells, digital PCR provides highly accurate measurements of the exact copy number of target DNA present in the sample. This absolute quantification capability holds immense promise for applications like:

  • Minimal Residual Disease Detection: In oncology, digital PCR can detect minute amounts of residual cancer cells after treatment, aiding in early detection of relapse and guiding treatment decisions.
  • Gene Expression Analysis: Digital PCR allows for highly precise quantification of specific gene transcripts, providing valuable insights into cellular processes and gene regulation.


  • enigma.gif



For more information about Next-Generation PCR Diagnostics, watch this video: