Skip to main content
Decorative image of the COVID-19 Learning Lounge

How a 1960s Discovery in Yellowstone Made Millions of COVID-19 PCR Tests Available


Like so many great scientific discoveries, Tom Brock started with basic research. Research that would go on to revolutionize the field of biology and pave the road to the development of the gold-standard PCR tests used to fight a pandemic nearly 50 years later. His journey started in Yellowstone National Park where he wanted to evaluate life at high temperatures. Brock's discovery of the Thermus aquaticus bacteria went on to deliver the key ingredient in polymerase chain reactions. In the 1980s, biochemist Kary Mullis used the enzyme from Thermus aquaticus, called Taq polymerase, to develop the PCR technique used today to diagnose diseases - including the virus that causes COVID-19.


Learn more about this pioneering scientific discovery.

Read Time: 7 minutes

We want to hear from you!

Your feedback helps us continue to provide resources and content specific to your needs.

U.S. bioMérieux Solutions

US Solutions


The FILMARRAY is an FDA-cleared multiplex PCR system that integrates sample preparation, amplification, detection and analysis. It requires just a few minutes of hands-on-time and its turnaround time is just about an hour, giving you faster results which may lead to better patient care.


USA Today
February 22, 2021