In recent years, significant advances in the knowledge of DNA and its make up have led to the development of a powerful technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Since the advent of PCR, laboratories around the globe have been exploiting this technology to bridge limitations or to overcome common problems encountered in molecular biology techniques. In addition, this technology has been employed successfully in diagnostic and basic scientific research and development. The true potentials of this technology is realized in early detection of pathogens and genetic abnormalities. In this paper two PCR protocols are described. The first is for detection of HIV-1 DNA in blood, the other for detection of rabies virus RNA in brain cells. 6 refs, 3 figs, 1 tab.