How can one determine the optimal annealing temperature for a specific PCR assay?
To determine the optimal annealing temperature for a PCR assay, a Temperature Gradient experiment should be performed. To do this, you will set up several PCR reactions in duplicate for the same primer/template combination, using the same PCR chemistry, and subject each of the reactions to a slightly different annealing temperature within a specified range. If a thermal cycler with a temperature gradient function can be used, you can simply program a temperature range for adjacent wells in the cycling block. If no cycler with a gradient function exists in your lab, you will either have to perform duplicate reactions at different temperatures in different machines (if available), or back to back in the same machine.