The Southern Blot

The DNA blot was developed by Southern in 1975 (3), and it remains the method of choice among many researchers for

From: Molecular Diagnostics: For the Clinical Laboratorian, Second Edition Edited by: W. B. Coleman and G. J. Tsongalis © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ

reliable, quantitative detection of specific DNA sequences. The Southern blot can detect the presence of homologous genes across species. For example, if a biologically relevant gene has been located in the rat, it is possible to construct a labeled probe from the rat gene and use it to search for a homologous gene in the human genome by Southern blot analysis. The DNA blot can also be used to assess the relative copy number of a specific gene. This particular application of the Southern blot is useful in detecting gene amplification, which is a common response to environmental pressure and often accounts for drug resistance in mammalian cells (4,5). Southern analysis can identify mutations, deletions, or rearrangements that alter the integrity of a specific gene, which can be useful in the prognosis of certain types of cancer and in the prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases. In addition, the DNA blot is a valuable tool for molecular cloning, providing a mechanism for localization of specific sequences to defined fragments within larger bacteriophage and cosmid genomic DNA clones.

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