The Polymerase Chain Reaction: A Stochastic Model, Methods of Quantification, and Applications to HIV
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science
This thesis is concerned with the development of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as an accurate and reliable measure of specific DNA copy number. This development is motivated by the need to quantify the number of copies of HIV in infected cells. In particular the extent of HIV infection, in terms of proviral load, can be determined by using PCR, leading to more accurate evaluation of drug treatments. Successful completion of this development requires answering the following questions: i) Can PCR be used to quantify low copy number of specific DNA? ii) What mathematical and statistical models give the most consistent and reproducible measure of DNA copy number? iii) What conditions affect assay variability?