Prime It DNA Game

Rating: Good

Strong Points: Great app design and smooth interface

Weak Points: Gives only a basic overview of PCR and complementary base pairs

Platform: iPhone/iPad

Available for Android: Yes

Cost: Free

Prime It, created by the University of Glasgow’s School of Life Sciences, is probably
the most fun that you can have with PCR. The app is mostly based around a great game that challenges the user to make PCR primers by matching complementary base pairs down the line of a template DNA strand. Users get feedback both on how accurate their base pair matching is and how fast they can complete both the forward and reverse primers. The app also includes a short introduction to what PCR is, what it’s used for, and why primers are necessary to make the process work. Although Prime It is mainly just a fun game, it does have a lot of potential as an educational tool for students just learning about DNA structure and the importance of PCR. And if you aren’t teaching, it’s a great way to unwind a bit while you’re waiting for your PCR to finish running.