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Ann Genet. 2004 Oct-Dec;47(4):349-58.

The peptide nucleic acids (PNAs): a new generation of probes for genetic and cytogenetic analyses.

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  • 1Centre of Assisted Reproduction and Reproductive Genetics, Institute of Biology and Medical Genetics, Motol Hospital, V uvalu 84, 150 06 Prague 5, Czech Republic.


Peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) are synthetic homologs of nucleic acids in which the phosphate-sugar polynucleotide backbone is replaced by a flexible pseudo-peptide polymer to which the nucleobases are linked. This structure gives PNAs the capacity to hybridize with high affinity and specificity to complementary sequences of DNA and RNA, and also confers remarkable resistance to DNAses and proteinases. The unique physico-chemical characteristics of PNAs have led to the development of a wide range of biological assays. Several exciting new applications of PNA technology have been published recently in genetics and cytogenetics. Also, PNA-based hybridization technology is developing rapidly within the field of in situ fluorescence hybridization, pointing out the great potential of PNA probes for chromosomal investigations.

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