Rapid advances in molecular biology have not only revolutionized the detection of disease-causing organisms – but our understanding of the genetic basis of disease. Earlier disease detection has led to the development of new treatment options, targeted medications, and better patient care.
While the term "molecular biology" was first coined as far back as 1938, molecular biology in its modern guise really took off in the early 1980s with the discovery of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that can amplify a single molecule of DNA into thousands of millions of copies.
Gene amplification is used by many of our technologies, including genetic fingerprinting (forensic analysis), the detection of disease-causing pathogens (human papilloma virus), and molecular diagnostics for the detection of disease. Other cutting-edge technologies made possible by the molecular biology revolution include advanced techniques for gene sequencing (next generation sequencing) and bioinformatics, enabling researchers to explore the molecular causes of disease and to understand how genes can impact health.
In 1986, just two years after the company was founded, QIAGEN revolutionized molecular biology by introducing the first "Plasmid Kit", which reduced the time needed for the preparation of plasmids, ring-shaped DNA molecules from bacteria, from 2-3 days to 2 hours. Plasmids are key tools in genetics and biotechnology. After being injected into bacteria, plasmids make several copies of particular genes, and have applications in producing insulin and antibiotics.