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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jun 1990; 87(12): 4580–4584.

Direct electrophoretic detection of the allelic state of single DNA molecules in human sperm by using the polymerase chain reaction.


We have developed a procedure that allows the detection of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products derived from a single target DNA molecule in a human sperm without using radioactive probes. With this method, three genetic loci present in a single sperm can be amplified simultaneously. The amplification procedure is specific as well as efficient and permits detection of the PCR product by ethidium bromide staining after polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. When allele-specific PCR primers that differ in length are used, the size of the PCR products of different alleles also vary in length, allowing the allelic state at each locus to be determined electrophoretically. Studies on individual sperm by using this procedure should facilitate the measurement of genetic recombination in humans over small physical distances. The ability to directly analyze the allelic state of PCR products from one cell rapidly and simply will also be useful for the prenatal diagnosis of genetic disease, especially in the analysis of single blastomeres taken from in vitro fertilized eggs prior to implantation.

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