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Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2013 Apr;61(2):139-48. doi: 10.1007/s00005-012-0209-7. Epub 2013 Jan 5.

Molecular beacons: a novel optical diagnostic tool.

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Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Xi'an Jiaotong University, No. 277 Yanta West Road, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710061, People's Republic of China.


As a result of the efforts of the Human Genome Project and the rise in demand for molecular diagnostic assays, the development and optimization of novel hybridization probes have focused on speed, reliability, and accuracy in the identification of nucleic acids. Molecular beacons (MBs) are single-stranded, fluorophore-labeled nucleic acid probes that are capable of generating a fluorescent signal in the presence of target, but are dark in the absence of target. Because of the high specificity and sensitivity characteristics, MBs have been used in variety of fields. In this review, MBs are introduced and discussed as diagnostic tools in four sections: several technologies of MBs will be illustrated primarily; the limitation of MBs next; the third part is new fashions of MBs; and the last one is to present the application of MBs in disease diagnosis.

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