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Plant Methods. 2012 Aug 15;8(1):32. doi: 10.1186/1746-4811-8-32.

Universal Multiplex PCR: a novel method of simultaneous amplification of multiple DNA fragments.

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State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Agronomy College, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an, Shandong Province 271018, P, R, China.



Multiplex PCR has been successfully applied in many areas since it was first reported in 1988; however, it suffers from poor universality.


A novel method called Universal Multiplex PCR (UM-PCR) was created, which simultaneously amplifies multiple target fragments from genomic DNA. The method has two steps. First, the universal adapter-F and universal adapter-R are connected to the forward primers and the reverse primers, respectively. Hairpin structures and cross dimers of five pairs of adapter-primers are detected. Second, UM-PCR amplification is implemented using a novel PCR procedure termed "Two Rounds Mode" (three and 28-32 cycles). The first round (the first three cycles) is named the "One by One Annealing Round". The second round (28-32 cycles) combines annealing with extension. In the first two cycles of the first round, primers only amplify the specific templates; there are no templates for the universal adapters. The templates of universal adapters begin to be synthesized from the second cycle of the first round, and universal adapters and primers commence full amplification from the third cycle of the first round.


UM-PCR greatly improves the universality of multiplex PCR. UM-PCR could rapidly detect the genetic purity of maize seeds. In addition, it could be applied in other areas, such as analysis of polymorphisms, quantitative assays and identifications of species.

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