Windows Into Wonderland
Therma Lee stands in front of a microscopic image of Thermus aquaticus.
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Where the Bison Roam

Act 1,  Scene 4,  Page 41 of 47

What does Yellowstone have to do with the invention of DNA analysis?

A microorganism called Thermus aquaticus, or Taq, lives in some of Yellowstone’s hot springs. This extremophile happened to possess an enzyme that could withstand the high temperatures needed in the PCR process. Eventually, a synthetic version of Taq’s enzyme was invented, and suddenly DNA studies had become both practical and affordable.

And what did you find out? What it her? Oh, I can’t stand the suspense!

enzyme—a protein substance that is produced by living cells and that affects the metabolism of the organism

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