Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is a a highly sensitive technique for the detection and quantitation of mRNA (messenger RNA). The technique consists of two parts:

 

  1. 1. The synthesis of cDNA (complementary DNA) from RNA by reverse transcription (RT) and
  2. 2. The amplification of a specific cDNA by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

RT-PCR has been used to measure viral load with HIV and may also be used with other RNA viruses such as measles and mumps.

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