chain reaction


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chain reaction

A series of events wherein the outcome of each instance specifically influences or causes the next. The phrase comes from the occurrence of such reactions in chemistry and physics. Deciding to take a course studying James Joyce in college set up a chain reaction that ultimately led me to move to Ireland. When one bookshelf fell, it caused a chain reaction that knocked over all the rest.
See also: chain, reaction

chain reaction

A series of events in which each influences or gives rise to the next event, as in If one person collects substantial damages by suing a company, you can expect a chain reaction of such lawsuits . The term originated in the physical sciences, first (1920s) chemistry and later (1940) physics; in the latter it denotes a process of nuclear fission. By the 1940s it had been transferred to more general use.
See also: chain, reaction
References in periodicals archive ?
Detection of murine typhus infection in fleas by using the polymerase chain reaction.
Adding the enzyme polymerase, which copies the original DNA target, prompts a chain reaction that generates millions of copies of the target, revealing the presence of spirochetes even in samples containing trace amounts of genetic material.
Rapid identification of mycobacteria to the species level by polymerase chain reaction and restriction enzyme analysis.
The application of the polymerase chain reaction and other new technologies to gene mapping has the genome project moving along faster than anyone had anticipated, scientists say.
To generate an amplicon we used Qiagen One-Step RT-PCR Kit with the following thermocycling conditions: reverse transcription (RT) at 50[degrees]C for 20 min, 94[degrees]C for 15 min, and 55[degrees]C for 30 s; 40 cycles of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at 95[degrees]C for 10 s, 56[degrees]C for 10 s, and 72[degrees]C for 15 s.
They also threaten to set in motion a self-perpetuating chain reaction as each electron they rob transforms a molecule into an electron-hungry radical itself.
Diagnosis was confirmed by reverse transcription--polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry.
Tests of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, varicella zoster virus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus, and human herpesvirus 6 were negative.