For certain applications of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), it may be necessary to consider the accuracy of replication. The breakthrough that made PCR user friendly was the commercialization of Thermus aquaticus (Taq) DNA polymerase, an enzyme that would survive the high temperatures needed for DNA denaturation. The development of enzymes with an inherent 3' to 5' exonuclease proofreading activity, lacking in Taq polymerase, would be an improvement when higher fidelity is needed. We used the forward mutation assay to compare the fidelity of Taq polymerase and Thermotoga maritima (ULTMA™) DNA polymerase, an enzyme that does have proofreading activity. We did not find significant differences in the fidelity of either enzyme, even when using optimal buffer conditions, thermal cycling parameters, and number of cycles (0.2% and 0.13% error rates for ULTMA™ and Taq, respectively, after reading about 3,000 bases each). We conclude that for sequencing purposes there is no difference in using a DNA polymerase that contains an inherent 3' to 5' exonuclease activity for DNA amplification. Perhaps the specificity and fidelity of PCR are complex issues influenced by the nature of the target sequence, as well as by each PCR component
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