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Clin Chem. 2019 Feb;65(2):263-271. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2018.296608. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Integrated Extreme Real-Time PCR and High-Speed Melting Analysis in 52 to 87 Seconds.

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Canon Virginia, Inc., Newport News, VA.
Department of Pathology, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT.
Department of Mathematics, Utah Valley University, Orem, UT.
Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., Rockville, MD.
Department of Pathology, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT;



Extreme PCR in <30 s and high-speed melting of PCR products in <5 s are recent advances in the turnaround time of DNA analysis. Previously, these steps had been performed on different specialized instruments. Integration of both extreme PCR and high-speed melting with real-time fluorescence monitoring for detection and genotyping is presented here.


A microfluidic platform was enhanced for speed using cycle times as fast as 1.05 s between 66.4 °C and 93.7 °C, with end point melting rates of 8 °C/s. Primer and polymerase concentrations were increased to allow short cycle times. Synthetic sequences were used to amplify fragments of hepatitis B virus (70 bp) and Clostridium difficile (83 bp) by real-time PCR and high-speed melting on the same instrument. A blinded genotyping study of 30 human genomic samples at F2 c.*97, F5 c.1601, MTHFR c.665, and MTHFR c.1286 was also performed.


Standard rapid-cycle PCR chemistry did not produce any product when total cycling times were reduced to <1 min. However, efficient amplification was possible with increased primer (5 μmol/L) and polymerase (0.45 U/μL) concentrations. Infectious targets were amplified and identified in 52 to 71 s. Real-time PCR and genotyping of single-nucleotide variants from human DNA was achieved in 75 to 87 s and was 100% concordant to known genotypes.


Extreme PCR with high-speed melting can be performed in about 1 min. The integration of extreme PCR and high-speed melting shows that future molecular assays at the point of care for identification, quantification, and variant typing are feasible.

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