The work in our group has lead to the developed of the molecular beacon probe, one of the first fluorescent nucleic acid hybridization probe technologies. Molecular beacons have found their application in real-time monitoring of nucleic acid amplification assays, such as the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Nucleic Acid Sequence Based Amplification (NASBA) assays, which are being utilized in clinical diagnostics and research & development. Real-time nucleic acid amplification assays provide both qualitative and quantitative information on rare RNA and DNA target sequences. Furthermore, these assays can be carried out in sealed tubes, thereby eliminating carryover contamination. Since molecular beacons remain dark when not hybridized to a nucleic acid target sequence, they also enable detection of DNA and RNA targets in living cells. You can find more information on molecular beacons, what they are, and what they can do, on the following web site www.molecular-beacons.org.
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We describe the use of SuperSelective primers that enable the detection and quantitation of somatic mutations whose presence relates to cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy, in real-time multiplex PCR assays that can potentially analyze rare DNA fragments present in blood samples (liquid biopsies), thereby providing information that can be used to modify therapy for individual patients, prolonging (and improving the quality of) life.
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