Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a molecular technique used to amplify and detect DNA and RNA sequences. Compared to traditional methods of DNA cloning and amplification, which may take days, PCR requires only a few hours. PCR is highly sensitive and requires minimal template for detection and amplification of specific sequences.
Reverse transcription PCR, or RT-PCR, allows the use of RNA as a template. The RNA is reverse transcribed into complementary DNA (cDNA), using reverse transcriptase. The quality and purity of the RNA template is essential for the success of RT-PCR.