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PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction Test) (cont.)

Why would a doctor order a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test?

The PCR test forms the basis of a number of tests that can answer many different medical questions that help physicians diagnose and treat patients. For example, PCR tests can detect and identify pathogenic organisms in patients, especially those that are difficult to cultivate (for example, HIV and other viruses and certain fungi).

Other doctors order PCR tests to help diagnose genetic diseases, while other doctors use PCR to detect biological relationships such as identifying parents of children. PCR tests are also used to identify and characterize genetic mutations and rearrangements found in certain cancers.

However, PCR tests have been modified and extended into many aspects of scientific investigations including evolutionary biology, genetic fingerprinting, forensic investigations, and many others.

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