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In Situ Hybridization

Application Of The Probe For Dna Or Rna To Tissues Or Cells, Conditions That Promote Optimal In Situ Hybridization

In situ hybridization is a technique used to detect specific DNA and RNA sequences in a biological sample. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are macromolecules made up of different sequences of four nucleotide bases (adenine, guanine, uracil, cytosine, and thymidine). In situ hybridization takes advantage of the fact that each nucleotide base binds with a complementary nucleotide base. For instance, adenine binds with thymidine (in DNA) or uracil (in RNA) using hydrogen bonding. Similarly, guanine binds with cytosine.

In a specialized molecular biology laboratory, researchers can make a sequence of nucleotide bases that is complementary to a target sequence that occurs naturally in a cell (in a gene, for example). When this complementary sequence is exposed to the cell, it will bind with that naturally occuring target DNA or RNA in that cell, thus forming what is known as a hybrid. The complementary sequence thus can be used as a "probe" for cellular RNA or DNA.

Thus, the term "hybridization" refers to the chemical reaction between the probe and the DNA or RNA to be detected. If hybridization is performed on actual tissue sections, cells, or isolated chromosomes in order to detect the site where the DNA or RNA is located, it is said to be done "in situ." By contrast, "in vitro" hybridization takes place in a test tube or other The arrow points to a chromosome section illuminated by the FISH procedure. apparatus, and is used to isolate DNA or RNA, or to determine sequence similarity of two nucleotide segments.

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Medicine EncyclopediaGenetics in Medicine - Part 2