Rights: The University of Waikato Published 1 May 2006 Download

Cell lines are specialised groups of cells used for research. They are individual cells that are all identical, and that can live forever in a laboratory environment. They are never able to be anything other than cells, though. They are not able to grow into a whole organism.

A foreign gene (corresponding to a gene associated with the disease) is inserted into the cell line. First, millions of copies of this gene are needed. This is to increase the chance that some of the cells will take up at least one of the copies of the gene. PCR can be used to generate the large number of gene copies needed for this process.


Dr Martin Philpott Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland

We would take a particular gene and insert that into our cells. Before we can do that we need a large number of copies of that gene and PCR, which is the polymerase chain reaction, is the methodology which you use to duplicate pieces of DNA.