Europhys. Lett.
Volume 71, Number 6, September 2005
Page(s) 1008 - 1014
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 12 August 2005
Europhys. Lett., 71 (6), pp. 1008-1014 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10171-6

Polymerase chain reaction in natural convection systems: A convection-diffusion-reaction model

E. Yariv1, G. Ben-Dov2 and K. D. Dorfman3

1  Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology Haifa 32000, Israel
2  Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology Haifa 32000, Israel
3  Laboratoire Physicochimie-Curie, UMR/CNRS 168, Institut Curie 26 rue d'Ulm, F-75248 Paris Cedex 5, France

received 11 April 2005; accepted in final form 12 July 2005
published online 12 August 2005

We present a rational scheme for modeling natural convection-driven polymerase chain reaction (PCR), where many copies of a DNA template are made by cycling between hot and cold regions via a circulatory, buoyancy-driven flow. This process is described here in the framework of multiple-species formulation, using evolution equations which govern the concentrations of the various DNA species in the carrying solution. In the intermediate asymptotic limit, where a stationary amplification rate is achieved, these equations provide an eigenvalue problem for computing the exponential amplification rate of double-stranded DNA. The scheme is demonstrated using a simplified model of a Rayleigh-Bénard cell. In contrast to what may have been anticipated, diffusion tends to enhance the growth rate. The present model, intended to be used as a template for more device-specific analyses, provides a starting point for understanding the effects of the competing mechanisms (reaction, convection and diffusion) upon the amplification efficiency.

82.39.-k - Chemical kinetics in biological systems.
87.15.Rn - Reactions and kinetics; polymerization.

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