In this paper, we generalise a previously-described model of the error-prone polymerase chain reaction (PCR) reaction to conditions of arbitrarily variable amplification efficiency and initial population size. Generalisation of the model to these conditions improves the correspondence to observed and expected behaviours of PCR, and restricts the extent to which the model may explore sequence space for a prescribed set of parameters. Error-prone PCR in realistic reaction conditions is predicted to be less effective at generating grossly divergent sequences than the original model. The estimate of mutation rate per cycle by sampling sequences from an in vitro PCR experiment is correspondingly affected by the choice of model and parameters.
polymerase chain reaction