Southern blotting versus PCR

In many applications the use of Southern blotting has now been superseded by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification which has the advantages of greater speed and sensitivity. However, PCR remains dependent on the need for precise DNA sequence data to allow the design of primers, whereas Southern blotting may be performed in the absence of such data. Depending on the design of the PCR primers and the particular gene rearrangement being investigated, PCR may fail to produce any amplification product where Southern blotting would be likely to provide some information concerning the rearrangement. Where PCR really scores, in addition to its speed and sensitivity, is in its ability to amplify genes in an allele-specific manner. Faced with such advantages from PCR, Southern blotting risks becoming a lost art.

See also: Diversity, generation of; Genetic analysis at the molecular level; Northern blotting; Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification; Western blotting.

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