Molecular techniques have a key role to play in laboratory and clinical haematology. Restriction enzymes allow nucleic acids to be reduced in size for subsequent analysis. In addition they allow selection of specific DNA or RNA sequences for cloning into bacterial plasmids. These plasmids are naturally occuring DNA molecules which reside in bacterial cells. They can be manipulated to act as vehicles or carriers for biologically and medically important genes, allowing the production of large amounts of cloned material for research purposes or to aid in the production of medically important recombinant molecules such as insulin. As acquired or inherited genetic changes are implicated in a wide range of haematological diseases, it is necessary to have highly specific and sensitive assays to detect these mutations. Most of these techniques rely on nucleic acid hybridisation, benefitting from the ability of DNA or RNA to bind tighly to complimentary bases in the nucleic acid structure. Production of artificial DNA molecules called probes permits nucleic acid hybridiation assays to be performed, using the techniques of southern blotting or dot blot analysis. In addition the base composition of any gene or region of DNA can be determined using DNA sequencing technology. The advent of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has revolutionised all aspects of medicine, but has particular relevance in haematology where easy access to biopsy material provides a wealth of material for analysis. PCR permits quick and reliable manipulation of sample material and its ability to be automated makes it an ideal tool for use in the haematology laboratory.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Hematology (Amsterdam, Netherlands)|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|