Highly specific and sensitive methods were developed for multiplex amplification of nucleic acids on supports such as microarrays. Based on a specific primer design, methods include five types of amplification that proceed in a reaction chamber simultaneously. These relate to four types of multiplex amplification of a target DNA on a solid support, directed by forward and reverse complex primers immobilized to the support and a fifth type--pseudo-monoplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of multiple targets in solution, directed by a single pair of unbound universal primers. The addition of the universal primers in the reaction mixture increases the yield over the traditional "bridge" amplification on a solid support by approximately ten times. Methods that provide multitarget amplification and detection of as little as 0.45-4.5.times.10.sup.-12 g (equivalent to 10.sup.2-10.sup.3 genomes) of a bacterial genomic DNA are disclosed.
The United States Government has rights in the disclosed invention pursuant to Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the University of Chicago representing Argonne National Laboratory.