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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1993 Nov;117(11):1115-20.

Detection of Epstein-Barr virus in human tissues by molecular genetic techniques.

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Department of Pathology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 78284-7750.


In the past few years, there has been an explosion of new data on the association of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) with human disease. Many of these discoveries have come as a direct result of the application of DNA technology. The nucleic acid hybridization techniques most commonly used to detect EBV in human tissues include Southern blot analysis, in situ hybridization to viral DNA or RNA, and polymerase chain reaction. An advantage of Southern blotting is the ability to distinguish latent from infectious EBV and to determine the clonality of infected tumors with respect to the structure of the viral terminal repeat sequences. In situ hybridization has the advantage of precise localization of the virus in infected tissues or tumors. Polymerase chain reaction is exquisitely sensitive in detecting viral DNA, perhaps too sensitive for disease-specific purposes given the ubiquitous nature of EBV. Each of these molecular genetic methods of EBV analysis is currently used in research laboratories, while some methods have found their way into routine diagnostic pathology because they are faster, more sensitive, or more informative than previous assays.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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