Send to

Choose Destination
J Mol Diagn. 2006 Feb;8(1):3-15.

Nucleic acid amplification testing for Neisseria gonorrhoeae: an ongoing challenge.

Author information

Clinical Virology Research Unit, Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre, Royal Children's Hospital & Health Service District, Herston Road, Herston, Queensland, Australia 4029.


Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) for the detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae became available in the early 1990s. Although offering several advantages over traditional detection methods, N. gonorrhoeae NAATs do have some limitations. These include cost, risk of carryover contamination, inhibition, and inability to provide antibiotic resistance data. In addition, there are sequence-related limitations that are unique to N. gonorrhoeae NAATs. In particular, false-positive results are a major consideration. These primarily stem from the frequent horizontal genetic exchange occurring within the Neisseria genus, leading to commensal Neisseria species acquiring N. gonorrhoeae genes. Furthermore, some N. gonorrhoeae subtypes may lack specific sequences targeted by a particular NAAT. Therefore, NAAT false-negative results because of sequence variation may occur in some gonococcal populations. Overall, the N. gonorrhoeae species continues to present a considerable challenge for molecular diagnostics. The need to evaluate N. gonorrhoeae NAATs before their use in any new patient population and to educate physicians on the limitations of these tests is emphasized in this review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center