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Mol Cell Probes. 1990 Dec;4(6):445-50.

Taq polymerase contains bacterial DNA of unknown origin.

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Department of Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville.


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was carried out with the highly conserved E. coli ribosomal RNA gene sequences 1376-1395 and 1521-1540. Using these primers and reaction conditions specified by the manufacturer(s), a 165 bp fragment was synthesized using Taq polymerase from three different sources in the absence of any added template. Restriction enzyme analysis suggests the source of this bacterial DNA is neither E. coli nor Thermus aquaticus. A variety of different methods to eliminate it such as treatment with DNase, restriction enzyme digestion, and CsCl2 density gradient centrifugation were unsuccessful. Since the bacteria in which the Taq polymerase is produced are not the source of the DNA, some step(s) in the purification or reagents added to the enzyme must be involved. Thus it is likely other biological products are similarly contaminated. Although the problem is easily dealt with by running a no-template control and choosing other primers if a problem exists, it is important to recognize the potential for a false-positive result.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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