Open PCR

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= a project to build one of the OpenPCR machines; an Open Source kitset based on an Arduino



1. Paul Szymkowiak:

"If you don't know what PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is, it's essentially DNA copying: to be more precise, exponential replication of a specific piece of DNA. So a PCR machine is essentially a device that copies DNA."

2. Open It Agency:

"OpenPCR is a low-cost, yet accurate thermocycler you build yourself, capable of reliably controlling PCR reactions for DNA detection, sequencing, and other applications.

What is a PCR? It is short for „Polymerars Chain Reaction“ and it is a biochemical technology in molecular biology used to amplify a single or a few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence. (WP) So it is basically a DNA printer or copy machine, laboratory equipment. " (


"The eagerly awaited OpenPCR kit is now shipping! UPS picked up the first batch of kits and OpenPCRs are on their way to users in 5 continents and 13 countries around the world. For $512, every OpenPCR kit includes all the parts, tools, and beautiful printed instructions – you ONLY need a set of screwdrivers.

A PCR machine is basically a copy machine for DNA. It is essential for most work with DNA, things like exposing fraud at a sushi restaurant, diagnosing diseases including HIV and H1N1, or exploring your own genome. The guy who discovered the PCR process earned a Nobel Prize in 1993, and OpenPCR is now the first open source PCR machine.

The price of a traditional PCR machine is around $3,000. So, do people in garages have great PCR machines? Not really. Howabout high school or middle school teachers? Nope. Howabout smaller medical testing labs or labs in India or China? Nope. Even some big bio labs try their luck on eBay. We set out to change that.

Josh and I prototyped OpenPCR over about 4 months — it was a lot of fun. Last May we unveiled the first OpenPCR prototype to all a bunch of crazy people on Kickstarter, 158 people gave us a total of $12,121. With that we designed and manufactured a repeatable, works-all-the-time device — it took a lot of hard work. Now we’re done and ready to share!" (

More Information

  1. Wikipedia link on PCR:
  2. Robert Shepherd about Open Source Biotechnology:
  3. Product Hacking