Kinetic PCR analysis: real-time monitoring of DNA amplification reactions

Biotechnology (N Y). 1993 Sep;11(9):1026-30. doi: 10.1038/nbt0993-1026.


We describe a simple, quantitative assay for any amplifiable DNA sequence that uses a video camera to monitor multiple polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) simultaneously over the course of thermocycling. The video camera detects the accumulation of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) in each PCR using the increase in the fluorescence of ethidium bromide (EtBr) that results from its binding duplex DNA. The kinetics of fluorescence accumulation during thermocycling are directly related to the starting number of DNA copies. The fewer cycles necessary to produce a detectable fluorescence, the greater the number of target sequences. Results obtained with this approach indicate that a kinetic approach to PCR analysis can quantitate DNA sensitively, selectively and over a large dynamic range. This approach also provides a means of determining the effect of different reaction conditions on the efficacy of the amplification and so can provide insight into fundamental PCR processes.

MeSH terms

  • DNA / analysis*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Ethidium
  • Fluorescence
  • HIV / genetics
  • Kinetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Video Recording


  • DNA, Viral
  • DNA
  • Ethidium