Carl Wittwer, the University of Utah scientist who helped invent 15-minute PCR and many other commonly used PCR techniques and instrumentation, is back at the drawing board, whittling the time it takes to perform PCR to less than 30 seconds.

By employing high surface area-to-volume capillary tubes and up to 25-fold higher primer and polymerase concentrations than standard PCR, Wittwer and colleagues have used the method to successfully amplify a 49-bp fragment of human genomic DNA in less than 30 seconds and 102-bp fragments in less than a minute.

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