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Which PCR Kit Is Right For You?

Amplification of DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) generates many millions of copies of a specific region of DNA. PCR is used in laboratories and classrooms across the world, especially in the fields of medicine, research, and forensics.

Carolina is proud to be a leading supporter of biotechnology in science education, offering impactful PCR kits to the education market for almost 20 years.

We use the best and safest materials, along with protocols and activities exclusive to our PCR kits. With our kits, your students can explore real-world applications of PCR and cover a range of topics such as:

• DNA barcoding
• Bioinformatics
• Forensics
• Population genetics
• GMO foods
• Epigenetics

Type of Samples

Type of Stain
Kit Name  
Using DNA Barcodes to Identify
and Classify Living Things
Plant, Mammal, Fish, Insect CarolinaBlu™, GelGreen™

Best for teaching: Collecting and analyzing sequence data from plants and/or animals. Use of DNA sequence to identify species, demonstrate taxonomic relationships between species. Connecting students to real world bioinformatics.

Scenario: Students take a new approach to taxonomy using "DNA barcodes" to learn about the biodiversity of plants, mammals, fish, or insects. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on specific regions of the rbcL or COI gene, students amplify their extracted DNA to create unique barcodes. Use our online tool "DNA Subway" to analyze your samples.

Using Highly Variable Polymorphisms in Forensic Biology and Population Genetics Kit Human Ethidium Bromide, CarolinaBlu™

Best for teaching: Population genetics, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium to calculate genotype frequencies. Discover real world forensic techniques and scenarios.

Scenario: Illustrates the use of DNA typing to identify individuals in court cases and disasters. Assay for variable numbers of tandem repeats (VNTR) polymorphisms at the pMCT118 locus. VNTR locus contains more than 29 different alleles. A panel of student types shows a variety of different genotypes that can be resolved by gel electrophoresis.

Mitochondrial DNA Polymorphisms in
Human Evolution Kit
Human Ethidium Bromide, CarolinaBlu™

Best for teaching: Forensic analysis of DNA samples. Molecular basis of heredity and evolution. Population genetics.

Scenario: Students perform an extraction to obtain a sample of their own DNA and amplify a 440-nucleotide segment of a hypervariable region of the mitochondrial chromosome, which contains numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Gel electrophoresis confirms amplification; the samples may be sent for sequencing. Students compare their SNPs with ancient hominids and people from different world populations to discover patterns of DNA variation and to analyze theories of human evolution.

Using an Alu Insertion Polymorphism to Study Human Populations Human Ethidium Bromide, CarolinaBlu™

Best for teaching: Evolution, population genetics, Hardy-Weinburg equilibrium, and chi-square analysis. How Alu insertions are used to track world population migrations.

Scenario: Students perform an extraction to obtain a sample of their own DNA. Use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify a 300-nucleotide Alu insertion into an intron of the H-cadherin gene. Gel electrophoresis separates the two alleles, and each student determines his/her own genotype.

Using a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) to Predict Bitter Tasting Ability Kit Human Ethidium Bromide, CarolinaBlu™

Best for teaching: Relationship between genotype and phenotype. Importance of SNPs in understanding modern molecular biology and its applications. Bioinformatics.

Scenario: Students investigate the molecular basis of the inherited ability to taste (PTC). Students determine their ability to taste PTC paper and extract and obtain their own DNA. Amplify the region of the PTC taste receptor gene. Discover how a single nucelotide change can differentiate the alleles that correlate the abilty to taste PTC. Use the tools of bioinformatics to make predictions and analysis of the TAS2R38 gene and own samples.

Human Mitochondrial DNA Haplotyping Kit (AT) Human None

Best for teaching: Discovering own mitochondrial haplotype. Mitochondiral evolution and inheritance.

Scenario: Use mitochondrial DNA isolated from cheek cells or hair; perform PCR and a restriction enzyme digest to determine their haplotypes with respect to a locus in the mitochondrial genome. Concepts explored include haplotyping, evolution, and the application of PCR technology.

Amplification of Lambda DNA by PCR Kit Lambda DNA CarolinaBlu™, GelGreen™

Best for teaching: Introduction to Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Manipulate settings of a PCR protocol and investigate a change in amplification.

Scenario: Amplify a 1,106-bp sequence from the bacteriophage lambda genome using a sample of dilute lambda DNA mixed with PCR Ready-to-Go Beads™ and lambda PCR primers. The mixture can be amplified by using two water baths, or by using a DNA thermal cycler. Load the PCR samples onto an agarose gel, electrophorese, and stain. Verify the size of the amplified product by comparing it with DNA size markers.

Detecting Epigenetic DNA Methylation in Arabidopsis Kit Arabidopsis CarolinaBlu™, GelGreen™

Best for teaching: Relationship between genotype and phenotype. Epigenetic effect of DNA methylation of a gene. Role of homeobox proteins in plant development. Movement between in vitro experimentation and in silico computation.

Scenario: Use methylation-sensitive enzymes to explore epigenetics—heritable changes in gene expression—that affect flowering in Arabidopsis. Use techniques such as DNA extraction, restriction enzyme digest, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and bioinformatics. Learn the pivotal role DNA methylation plays in gene expression.

Genotype-Phenotype Connection Kit Halobacterium sp. CarolinaBlu™, GelGreen™

Best for teaching: Relationship between genotype and phenotype in a unique organism model. Bioinformatics.

Scenario: Use model microbe Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 to perform DNA extractions, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and gel electrophoresis. Observe and experience the Archaeon and extreme halophile (salt-loving) microorganism, Halobacterium sp. NRC-1, along with a stable mutant derivative, Halobacterium sp. NRC-1.

Forensic PCR Investigation Kit Human Ethidium Bromide, CarolinaBlu™

Best for teaching: Importance of controls in scientific anaylsis. Analyzing PCR data and interpreting DNA fingerprint data.

Scenario: Analyze DNA samples from a (fictitious) crime scene. Identify the culprit, learn about DNA profiling and the role of tandem repeats in the analysis. Build on that knowledge with a hands-on investigation of the samples using PCR amplification and gel electrophoresis to help close the case.

Detecting Genetically Modified Food by PCR Plant, Animal, Food CarolinaBlu™, GelGreen™

Best for teaching: Restriction Mapping of Lambda DNA using restriction enzymes.

Scenario: Assemble a map of the lambda virus using fragments of DNA digested with three different restriction enzymes.

Whatever your needs, we have the right kit for you

Whether you’re a first-year teacher or a veteran, Carolina is here to support you with world-class service and technical advice. We’ve made PCR accessible to all classrooms by providing a variety of kits from which to choose—and we offer free online and telephone support.

With all our PCR offerings, it’s important that you choose the right kit for your needs. Use this handy chart to guide you through the decision-making process.

Start by asking yourself:

  1. What equipment do I have?
    When performing PCR, consider the type of equipment (if any) you have available to you. You will need at least these items:
  2. What PCR subjects do I want to cover?
    You can cover numerous subjects within PCR with our lab kits. The chart describes each of the kit scenarios. If you already have a topic in mind, see the "Best for Teaching..." column.
  3. Which DNA stain should I use?
    We have several DNA staining options from which to choose. After selecting a kit for your classroom, you’ll need to pick a stain. The type of equipment you have available and safety concerns are two important factors in making your decision.

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